Epidemiological investigations of maternal and child health may involve the collection of biological specimens, including cord blood and the placenta; however, the attitudes of pregnant women towards participation in the collection of biological specimens have been studied rarely. We evaluated attitudes towards collection and storage of biological specimens, and determined whether attitudes differed by maternal characteristics, in a cross-sectional study of pregnant women residing in Kent County, Michigan. Women were interviewed at their first visit for prenatal care between April and October 2006 (n = 311). Willingness to participate was highest for maternal blood collection (72%), followed by storage of biological specimens (68%), placenta collection (64%), and cord blood collection (63%). About one-quarter of women (25-28% by procedure) would not participate even if compensated. Hispanic ethnicity was associated with unwillingness to participate in maternal blood collection (OR = 2.16 [95% CI 1.15, 4.04]). Primiparity was associated with unwillingness to participate in cord blood collection (OR = 1.72 [95% CI 1.23, 2.42]). Among women willing to participate, Hispanic women were less likely to require compensation; while higher educated, married and primiparous women were more likely to require compensation. In conclusion, while many pregnant women were willing to participate in biological specimen collection, some women were more resistant, in particular Hispanic and primiparous women. Targeting these groups of women for enhanced recruitment efforts may improve overall participation rates and the representativeness of participants in future studies of maternal and child health.
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.