(Photo illustration: Pixels/Pixybay) (Photo illustration: Pixels/Pixybay)

Around 2,000 babies are born prematurely in Croatia every year, and around 400 of them need intensive care to survive. Breast milk has proven to be beneficial to infants because of its unique nutritional and immunological characteristics. The bank will collect milk from nursing mothers not biologically related to the recipients. The milk will be screened, processed and dispensed to babies that are most in need to improve their chances of survival.

It is estimated that feeding the most vulnerable infants - those weighing less than 1,500 grams – will require collecting around 100,000 liters of breast milk across the country. The bank eventually hopes to provide breast milk for preemie babies throughout the country.

Before it is dispensed, the donated milk will be screened and processed to ensure it is fit for consumption. Donors will also be tested for infectious and other diseases.

The bank is part of the Croatian Tissue and Cell Bank and it also includes a breastfeeding center.