Prenatal Frailties: a Scientific and Communicative Challenge


Office/person in charge:
Prof. Giuseppe Noia – Founding President

"Il Cuore in una Goccia" non-profit Foundation – Via Francesco Albergotti, 16. 00167 Roma

Email address:

Website/social media:

In the current social landscape there is a sense of great unease, loneliness and suffering experienced by all those families faced with a prenatal diagnosis of their child’s pathology : a lack of medical-care, emotional, socio-economic and, last but not least, spiritual help.

In this context, the promotion of training and cultural paths that focus on crucial issues such as the preciousness of nascent life, the fetus as a patient, prenatal pathologies and the recent scientific and therapeutic developments related to them and prenatal palliative treatments are absolutely central, up to the configured Perinatal Hospice, in the model proposed by the “A. Gemelli” University Polyclinic Foundation I.R.C.C.S – Rome as a comprehensive response to prenatal frailty conditions taking charge of families, with pathological fetal diagnosis, in the antenatal phase.

It is on the basis of these premises that the idea of a specialist training program was born, addressed to all those who want to put themselves at the service of Life in the manner of the “Il Cuore in una Goccia” non-profit Foundation.

The course program aims, through the contribution of high medical professionals, to broaden knowledge of fetal and maternal pathological conditions, and to propose an integrated care model capable of responding scientifically and humanly to the needs of women and the entire family in the presence of fetal pathological diagnosis. A model in which the synergy between Science, Family and Faith takes the form of welcome, assistance, support, accompaniment and global management.

The course is part of a wider permanent training project and has been modulated in such a way as to be useful and usable not only for doctors and healthcare professionals, but also for non-medical figures operating in the areas of interest of the course. From a more strictly pastoral point of view, the initiative is particularly relevant as a contribution to a necessary formative and updating activity, addressed to priests and ecclesial figures. An indispensable tool to respond appropriately and comprehensively to the requests and needs of the churchgoer.

What is it?

What is this initiative about?

The Training Course of “Il Cuore in una Goccia” non-Foundation was born in the context of a cultural and educational commitment that is an integral part of our mission, in the awareness of the urgent need to create cultural bases that favor the proposal of welcome and defense of the nascent life.

The idea was to create a meeting for highly specialized training on an annual basis. The 2020 course is therefore only a stage of a more general project that aims to create a permanent training system that basically follows two training-application lines, one of a cultural-cognitive type and another of an experiential- witnesses type.

How does it help?

In what way does this initiative enhance the formation of the laity?

It facilitates the transition from information to knowledge and the acquisition of awareness on issues often subject to huge cultural contradictions. Information, in fact, is often superficial, while knowledge is based on the deepening, comparison, study and verification of data over time.

The concepts and topics that revolve around the themes of life require, by their nature and the human and ethical implications involved, a process of reflection and acquisition of knowledge; it is a matter of going in depth so as not to fall into wrong convictions and convey information that is false or too general, which, in this context, can result in enormous damage to families and unborn children.

Why is it important?

Why is this initiative important for the training and advancement of the laity in your country?

This type of training, based on scientific fundamentals, allows one to overcome ideological barriers. In particular, it allows one to acquire solid lay arguments that allow you to open dialogues, in the context of the protection of nascent life, with interlocutors of any cultural and religious background. All this to avoid prejudices, especially referring to a confessional affiliation, which can hinder the work of those who, lay and non-lay, are committed to defending life, especially the most fragile.

In this context, the proposal of the Perinatal Hospice model of the Gemelli Polyclinic within hospital structures, with particular reference to the Italian juridical normative system, highlights 4 fundamental aspects, of a purely secular nature, which can be proposed as a basis for any activity that has the ultimate goal of protecting life:

1) Contributes to preserving women from the heavy psychological repercussions resulting from eugenic abortion through assistance and support paths for women and families who, even in cases of pathological prenatal diagnosis, allow the child to be welcomed in complete serenity, because it does not interrupt parental planning.

2) Implements the provisions of law 194/78 (art.5) which provides for a series of obligations for health professionals, aimed at creating that “alternative” to the termination of pregnancy, almost never presented to the couple.

3) Pursues law 38/2010 concerning access to palliative care and pain alleviation even in the prenatal phase (prenatal palliative treatments in the fetus) in the context of invasive and non invasive fetal therapies.

4) Represents an element of justice and social equity by creating a system of equal opportunities for all those women who want to carry on pregnancy, even if marked by illness, in full respect of the rights of parents and the unborn child.

How did it start

How was this initiative developed?

Through a training path (the result of forty years of experience) and the proposal of an Integrated Perinatal Hospice model, based on a criterion of rationality that combines the reasons of scientific, ethical, legal reason on the one hand and responds to requests for assistance such as service to families on the psychosocial level on the other.


Does it benefit the laity on a national or local level?

This benefits the national and local levels because it improves the global preparation of the laity on the problems of nascent life and allows you to deal with complex issues by offering, also, experiential paths.

Means and funding

Who funds the initiative? What is needed to launch this initiative?

The course is organized and financed by the “Il Cuore in una Goccia” non-profit Foundation.

The “A. Gemelli” University Polyclinic Foundation I.R.C.C.S. – Rome participates in the initiative by providing logistical support.

The course allows, in Italy, doctors and health professionals (gynecologists, midwides, obstetricians, neonatologists, nurses, pediatricians, geneticists, psychologists, psychotherapists, pediatric surgeons, child neurosurgeons etc.) to obtain CME credits. For those who want to apply for credits there is a fee to be paid to the provider.

The categories that do not need CME credits (e.g. people interested in life issues, volunteers, family and health care workers, people with training responsibilities, families, etc.) access free of charge as listeners.

The launch of the initiative requires adequate publicity and dissemination via the web and social networks and a targeted invitation campaign. From a more properly pastoral aspect, for example, the involvement of entities and subjects such as: family and health pastoral care centres, seminaries, theological faculties and any figure who in turn holds roles of a formative nature in the context of the Church.

Learn more

Where can people learn more about this initiative?

By visiting the Foundation website

Countries involved

Does this initiative exist in other countries?

Currently the course (in its third edition) is available only in Italy.

How to start?

How can this initiative be implemented in other countries?

The correct and effective implementation of this initiative in other countries revolves, above all, around the subjects involved in the training activities and their attitudes. To this end, the following are necessary:

– Selection, for the purposes of carrying out the course, of expert speakers on issues related to the Perinatal Hospice (experts in prenatal diagnosis, fetal therapies, pre and post-natal palliative treatments, complex prenatal fetal diseases, clinical bioethics, etc.).

– Orientation, i.e. the way in which the experts involved use their specialized medical skills which should be addressed to the protection and care of the nascent life is fundamental.

– Method of presentation of the Hospice model, highlighting, in particular, the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach between the various competent experts, and between them and the families to support and accompany.






Program for the 2020 annual course
Program 2020 
Program for the 2019 annual course
Program 2019 
Program for the 2018 annual course
Program 2018 
Program for the 2021 annual course