The aims of this single centre study were to assess the feasibility of related cord blood collecting, the appropriateness of storage and the final suitability for transplantation. Since September 1994, 63 families were enrolled in this study. Families were eligible if they were caring for a patient with a disorder treatable by haematopoietic stem cell transplantation and were experiencing a pregnancy. A total of 72 cord blood units were collected and stored for 64 patients (both siblings and parents). We focussed on human leucocyte antigen (HLA) compatibility and cell content as critical requirements to unit's suitability for transplantation. HLA-typing was carried out for 34 donor–recipient couples and most units (72%) mismatched with the related patients. About 60% of collections had a minimum cell dose considered acceptable for transplantation. Only 21% of units had both compatibility degree and cell content suitable for transplantation. When applicable, information on the compatibility degree between the foetus and the patient should be obtained during pregnancy. Appropriateness of related cord blood banking for parents should be further investigated and cost-effective guidelines policies should be provided. Finally, as banking of related cord blood units is an important resource then, this public service should be supported and enhanced.