Groundbreaking decree encourages Muslim families in MN to use donor breast milk for some babies

Muslim families in Minnesota are encouraged via religious clarification to use donor breast milk for babies who are in intensive care.

The Minnesota Islamic Council on Thursday issued a fatwa, or a religious clarification, to encourage the use of pasteurized donor human breast milk for babies, specifically babies who are preterm, low birth or ill, when a mother's breast milk isn't available, a press release says.

This is believed to be the first-of-its-kind Islamic fatwa in the United States, and is a milestone for helping bridge the disparity among babies in Minnesota, the release states.

This comes after health care staff noticed Muslim families would not accept donor breast milk in neonatal intensive care units for religious reasons. There were "extensive discussions" last month between Muslim scholars and experts from Children’s Minnesota, M Health Fairview, the Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies and the Minnesota Breastfeeding Coalition prior to the signing of this fatwa.

A Muslim legal expert who is empowered to give rulings on religious matters signed the fatwa during a press conference on Thursday. Watch it in the player above.