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Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2015 Jul;29(4):360-71. doi: 10.1111/ppe.12201.

Design and Conduct of an Internet-Based Preconception Cohort Study in North America: Pregnancy Study Online.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA.
2
Slone Epidemiology Center, Boston University, Boston, MA.
3
RTI Health Solutions, Research Triangle Park, NC.
4
Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.
5
Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We launched the Boston University Pregnancy Study Online (PRESTO) to assess the feasibility of carrying out an Internet-based preconception cohort study in the US and Canada.

METHODS:

We recruited female participants age 21-45 and their male partners through Internet advertisements, word of mouth, and flyers. Female participants were randomised with 50% probability to receive a subscription to FertilityFriend.com (FF), a web-based programme that collects real-time data on menstrual characteristics. We compared recruitment methods within PRESTO, assessed the cost-efficiency of PRESTO relative to its Danish counterpart (Snart-Gravid), and validated retrospectively reported date of last menstrual period (LMP) against the FF data.

RESULTS:

After 99 weeks of recruitment (2013-15), 2421 women enrolled; 1384 (57%) invited their male partners to participate, of whom 693 (50%) enrolled. Baseline characteristics were balanced across randomisation groups. Cohort retention was similar among those randomised vs. not randomised to FF (84% vs. 81%). At study enrollment, 56%, 22%, and 22% couples had been trying to conceive for < 3, 3-5, and ≥ 6 months, respectively. The cost per subject enrolled was $146 (2013 US$), which was similar to our companion Danish study and half that of a traditional cohort study. Among FF users who conceived, > 97% reported their LMP on the PRESTO questionnaire within 1 day of the LMP recorded via FF.

CONCLUSIONS:

Use of the Internet as a method of recruitment and follow-up in a North American preconception cohort study was feasible and cost-effective.

KEYWORDS:

Internet; fertility; methods; mobile apps; prospective studies

PMID:
26111445
PMCID:
PMC4662659
DOI:
10.1111/ppe.12201
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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