Friday, August 26, 2011

IBCLC, concerns about a profession...

The IBCLC Code of Ethics  will be changed to a Code of Professional Conduct effective November 1, 2011.  I guess I shouldn't be concerned since at that date I will no longer be an IBCLC.  It's kind of ironic to see this proposed document and realize it coincides with my departure in the profession.  It makes me more at peace with my decision.  IBCLCs will no longer be obligated to follow the WHO Code, they will only be "encouraged."  So we are witnessing a profound change in a profession whose job was to promote, protect, and encourage breastfeeding.  It should make industry, particularly the infant formula industry happy.  And it lets human milk researchers (who sometimes are IBCLCs) off the hook.  They can happily continue doing human milk research for the infant formula industry and feel not a twinge of guilt.  For an understanding of the direction the IBCLC profession is going, I'd encourage readers to access the IBLCE website.  (  I can't seem to access it anymore (it must be down right now-guess cause of the impending hurricane--Irene?  or IBCLCs?).  If one looks at the history of the IBLCE Board members, one is struck by the backgrounds of previous and current board members.  Many are nurses, doctors, and human milk researchers.  One year, I remember looking at the list and almost all board members were human milk researchers.  Does that present a problem?  Maybe.  It could explain the direction in which the profession is headed.  Non-medical educated people need not apply unless they want to get medical training.  I knew this was coming back in 1985.  I was told at a Florida LLL Conference that eventually the profession would not be easily accessible to LLL leaders and now was the time for LLL leaders to get this credential.  So I am surprised by other IBCLCs who are surprised by these "new" requirements.  This was the intended direction from the get-go by the leadership then and now.
What amuses me (sorry, in a cynical, sarcastic way) about the IBLCE's new Code is that they watered-down an IBCLCs obligation to the WHO Code but they did not change "respect for intellectual property rights" (which includes copyrights, trademarks, service and certification marks-certification marks was not on the old Code of Ethics), and patents.  This obligation is still there.  Why?  The IBCLC certification is a trademark, yeah a certification trademark.  But listed in the US Patent & Trademark Office.
Serial # 74631001  Registration # 2042667
Typed Drawing

Word Mark IBCLC
Goods and Services IC B . US B . G & S: independent lactation consultant services. FIRST USE: 19850308. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19850308
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 74631001
Filing Date November 23, 1994
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition December 17, 1996
Registration Number 2042667
Registration Date March 11, 1997
Owner (REGISTRANT) International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners CORPORATION VIRGINIA 7245 Arlington Blvd. #200 Falls Church VIRGINIA 22042
Attorney of Record PAUL E. HODGES
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20070427.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20070427
Other Data The certification mark, as used by persons authorized by applicant, certifies the quality of the services performed by those approved by the certifier.
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

So, I suppose if your profession depends on a trademark for credentialing purposes, then it is imperative that we "respect" ownership of a credential.  Luckily I don't have to worry about my BA credential.  Its bought and paid for a long time ago and I will never lose it.  But the IBCLC credential trademark is just a rental property.  I suspect there is more to the IBCLC respecting intellectual property rights than just the fact that IBCLC is a trademark, albeit a certification trademark.  I believe that having had alot of human milk researchers on the IBLCE Board may have influenced the views of the Board on patents and patenting issues.  The direction the profession goes is important.  It looks like the direction is headed down the road to hell but who am I to say anything?

Here's another patent that we can thank human milk researchers for, in particular Alan Lucas.

Patent # 7998501, "Newborn infant formulas and feeding method"
Inventors:  Atul Singhal and  Alan Lucas
Assigned to University College London (Cambridge, GB)

"It has been observed, however, that formula-fed newborn infants might benefit from a feeding having a lower energy density, and perhaps more importantly from a feeding that provides fewer calories during the initial weeks or months of life than would otherwise be provided from a feeding with a conventional infant formula.  We have found from our long term infant studies that rapid early growth achieved in large part from nutrient enriched feedings from conventional infant formulas,  may result in long term adverse health effects in individuals later in life, particularly with regard to long-term vascular health relevant to the development of atherosclerosis and to the later propensity to insulin resistance and non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM)..."
The patent mentions that slower growth achieved by human milk (note:  breastfeeding? where be thee?) and a modified infant formula had better results regarding these diseases that cause adult morbidity.
And the patenting goes on and on.  And you, IBCLCs, are obligated to respect the business of patenting of human milk.  I call that an ethics dilemma that the profession has chosen to avoid.
Copyright 2011 Valerie W. McClain

No comments:

Post a Comment