To evaluate the Italian physicians' knowledge/information level about the therapeutic potential of stem cells, the research choice between embryonic and cordonal stem cells, and the preference between autologous and heterologous storage of cordonal stem cells, we performed a national survey. The questionnaire--distributed to 3361 physicians--involved physicians of different religious orientations and of different medical specialities. Most of the physicians involved (67%) were Catholics, and the majority were gynaecologists and paediatricians (43%) who are mainly in charge to inform future mothers about the possibility of cordonal stem cells conservation. The majority of the physicians interviewed do not have specific knowledge about stem cells (59%), most of them having only generic information (92%). The largest part of physicians prefer to use umbilical cord blood cells rather than embryonic stem cells. Nevertheless, a large percentage of physicians were in favour of embryo research, especially when embryos are supernumerary (44% versus 34%). Eighty-seven % of the physicians interviewed proved to have a general knowledge about stem cells and believe in their therapeutic potential. They prefer research on cordonal stem cells rather than on embryo stem cells. Although they are in favour of heterologous stem cells donation, they still prefer cryopreservation for personal use.