European journal of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology

"Collection of a lifetime: a practical approach to developing a longitudinal collection of women's healthcare biological samples".

PMID 24965987


The objective is to develop a biorepository of samples that represent all stages of a women's life. Importantly, our goal is to collect longitudinal physical specimens as well as the associated short and long-term clinical information. The Women's Health Tissue Repository was established to encompass four tissue banks: Well Women Tissue Bank, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Tissue Bank, Maternal Fetal Tissue Bank, and the long-established Gynecologic Malignancies Tissue Bank. Based on their health status, women being seen in Women's Health at the University of Iowa are recruited to contribute samples and grant access to their electronic medical record to the biorepository. Samples are coded, processed, and stored for use by investigators. The Maternal Fetal Tissue Bank was the first expansion of our department's biobanking efforts. Approximately 75% of the women approached consent to participate in the Maternal Fetal Tissue Bank. Enrollment has steadily increased. Samples have been used for over 20 projects in the first 3 years and are critical to 7 funded grants and 3 patent applications. Patient samples with corresponding clinical data are initially important to women's health research. Our model demonstrates that many research projects by faculty, fellows, and residents have benefited from the existence of the Women's Health Tissue Repository. While challenging to achieve, longitudinal sampling allows for the greatest opportunity to study normal and pathological changes throughout all phases of a women's life, including pregnancy. This bank facilitates and accelerates the development of novel research, technologies, and possible therapeutic options in women's health. The establishment of more longitudinal biorepositories based on our model would enhance women's health research.