Background: Public cord blood banking is currently managed in Italy by a network of 19 regional cord blood banks coordinated by the National Blood Centre and the National Transplant Centre. A cost analysis was carried out within the Italian network to determine the relationship between cost of cord blood collection and banking and size of the bank inventory, which ranged from 106 to 9,341 units on December 31st, 2012.
Materials and methods: The 19 banks were invited to report costs incurred in 2012 related to cord blood unit collection, transportation, biological validation, characterisation, manipulation, cryopreservation, storage, data management, and general costs. Missing information on selected items was replaced with standardised costs represented by average data obtained from the reporting banks. Eight banks (52%) participated in the study. Average costs were determined in the three banks with inventories of >3,000 units vs the three banks with inventories of <1,000 units.
Results: Both cord blood collection and cord blood banking costs per unit were lower in the larger banks than in the smaller banks (average collection costs: € 119.25 and € 151.31, respectively; average banking costs: € 3,614.15 and € 8,158.37, respectively).
Discussion: The study outlined an inverse relationship between the costs of cord blood collection and banking and the size of the bank inventory, suggesting that scale economies could be obtained through centralisation of banking activities.