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INTRODUCTION Events and exposures during pregnancy have the potential to adversely affect pregnancy outcomes. Improved infrastructure for the study of pregnancy and pregnancy-related complications is necessary, particularly in the United States where the maternal mortality rate has doubled since 1999. Critical to that infrastructure are maternal, fetal, and paternal biospecimens. We describe the establishment of a perinatal research biorepository (PRB) in the Kansas City (KC) area that biological specimens and related clinical data associated with human pregnancy. Herein we present, lessons learned from enrollment, and the potential for future interdisciplinary research.

METHODOLOGY Principal investigators at Children’s Mercy Kansas City (CMKC) and the University of Kansas Medical Center were responsible for the design and development of the PRB. Biospecimens are collected from The University of Kansas Health System (TUKHS), AdventHealth Shawnee Mission (Advent), and CMKC. Eligible patients must be at least 18 years old, English speaking, and seeking care for reproductive health. Patients are consented during their prenatal clinic visits, and permission is obtained to allow the retention of biospecimens and medical information. Biospecimens are collected after informed consent is obtained and only if the procedure is already indicated for standard care. Biological samples are processed and stored at the CMKC Biorepository (CRIB). Associated clinical data are stored in a secure and confidential database. Investigators who receive samples from the PRB must provide documentation of an IRB-approved protocol and obtain approval by the PRB Scientific Advisory Committee.

RESULTS Since 2018, 1122 families across three KC hospitals have enrolled in the PRB, including 10 who participated during two pregnancies. Maternal age ranges from 18-47 years old. A total of 7151biospecimens have been collected from 744 pregnancies. While 21% of samples are from pregnancies with no complications, the PRB has samples from pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, congenital abnormalities, cancer, autoimmune disorders, substance abuse, and psychiatric disorders.

CONCLUSION The biological samples and clinical data collected by the PRB have the potential to contribute to morphological, biochemical, genetic, genomic, proteomic, metabolomic, and epigenetic analysis, furthering our understanding of the relationship between maternal and fetal health during pregnancy, birth, and beyond. However, the value of the PRB is directly proportional to the diversity of the consented population and the quality of sample collection and storage.

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Establishing a Biorepository and Data Bank for Perinatal Research