The Banca del Cordone Ombelicale UNICATT (Cord Blood Bank) is one of the eighteen public banks that work in the National Public Healthcare System scenario and is a member of the ITCBN, the Italian Cord Blood Network.
The technical-scientific management is carried out by the National Center for Transplants and the National Blood Center in accordance with national and international scientific standards.
The Cord Blood Bank’s Services Card is available at the following link.
The objective of the Banca del Cordone Ombelicale UNICATT is to contribute to building an inventory of cord blood for patients with treatable illnesses through hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, but without a compatible family donor (allogeneic donation).
In addition to gathering and storing solidarity donations of cord blood, in particular cases the bank can store the cord blood for specific use.
In fact, if a family member has an illness that can be treated through a transplant or if within the same family there is a very high risk of genetic illnesses that could concern future children, the cord blood is stored for the sick family member or for the same child (specific allogeneic or autologous storage).
These services, upon presenting the medical documentation during the interview, are provided by the Banks without any economic cost for the patient or family.
Where are we
The Banca del Cordone Ombelicale UNICATT is located on -1 floor, purple path of the Multifunctional Building (Piastra Polifunzionale) at the Blood Transfusion Service.
It is open on Tuesdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.
It is possible to request an appointment on other days of the week in the following manner:
- Telephone: 06 3015.4068
Visits: when and what to bring
The visit at the Cord Blood Bank can take place from the 33rd week to the end of the pregnancy.
The documents to bring to the visit are the blood chemistry and obligatory tests done during pregnancy.
The presence of the child’s father is useful but not essential.
No National Public Healthcare System medical prescription or blood work is necessary before the donation.
During the meeting all the technical details regarding the cord blood donation are provided and all information of the mother and father’s medical history is obtained. An informed donation consent is also requested.
You can download the forms through the boxes below or browsing the site www.graziemamma.org
Download the PDF:
How to reach us
Where to find us
The UNICATT Cord Blood Bank is located on -1 floor, purple path of the Multifunctional Building (Piastra Polifunzionale) at the Blood Transfusion Service.
In order to facilitate entering the structure, for those coming by car and intending to use the parking area, it is suggested to leave the car at PARKING LOT P5 (paid parking on the right immediately after the Emergency Room).
To receive information
It is possible to receive information or suggestions regarding cord blood donation by contacting:
• Dr. Maria Bianchi
• Dr. Luciana Teofili
• Mrs. Serena Ferraro
• Miss Giovanna Nuara
What is cord blood
The blood contained in the placenta and in the umbilical cord is a material rich in hematopoietic stem cells that are able to produce the normal blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets), and represents a valid alternative to bone marrow, in order to carry out stem cell transplants for both young and adult patients.
Stem cell transplant is the only possibility for recovery for many patients affected by leukemia or other serious hematological illnesses. Unfortunately, many of these patients do not have a compatible marrow donor in their family nor in the International Registry of bone marrow donation.
For these people, cord blood is the only hope to be able to receive the transplant.
The cord blood, at the end of childbirth, is usually discarded.
How it is collected
Cord blood can be collected through a simple procedure that does not imply any risks to the mother nor to the infant. This removal takes place in a few minutes, is painless and does not involve any modifications to the regular childbirth assistance.
After the birth, when the umbilical cord has been cut, an expert practitioner collects the blood remaining in the umbilical cord and in the placenta into a specific bag. The bag is immediately taken to the Cord Blood Bank in order to be handled and afterwards stored in the appropriate and specific freezers.
The history of transplants
The first cord blood transplant took place in 1988 in a patient affected by Fanconi anemia, a severe form of congenital hereditary pancytopenia. The patient was transplanted with a unit removed, during childbirth, from the umbilical cord of the patient’s own sister not affected by Fanconi anemia and HLA compatible.
Thanks to this first transplant, about 20,000 transplants have taken place to date with one unit of cord blood and more than 400,000 units are stored in the nearly 100 banks present all over the world.
The use of a cord blood unit has been undoubtedly favored by some of the specific characteristics of this type of donation among which the lack of risks for both the mother and the child, withdrawal easiness, the possibility to build an inventory of available units for transplant procedures, the reduced incidence of infections transmitted through transplants and the immediate availability for medical use.
What is a cord blood bank
In order to properly store Cord Blood, specific centers called “Cord Blood Banks” were created all over the world.
According to international standards, a Cord Blood Bank is considered an integrated team, in charge of collecting, handling, classifying, storing, selecting and distributing SCO cells for hematopoietic progenitor cell transplants.
Regulations and safety
The storage and distribution of cord blood in Italian Banks is regulated by the law regarding production and distribution of blood and its products (Law October 21, 2005 n.219) and by Legislative Decreeof November 18, 2009.
In accordance with this regulation, the autologous storage of cord blood is allowed only with precise and detailed indications from the November 18, 2009 Ministerial Decree. For this reason, all Cord Blood Banks that carry out autologous freezing without these indications are private banks and must be located outside the country.
The export of cord blood to one of these structures is, nonetheless, allowed and regulated by Italian law.
However, to date, the Italian regulation does not consider the possibility of re-importing, if necessary, these cells into Italy. More about this issue can be read in the Ministry of Health’s Order February 26, 2009.