Personalized assent for pediatric biobanks.
Giesbertz NAA., Melham K., Kaye J., van Delden JJM., Bredenoord AL.
Pediatric biobanking is considered important for generating biomedical knowledge and improving (pediatric) health care. However, the inclusion of children's samples in biobanks involves specific ethical issues. One of the main concerns is how to appropriately engage children in the consent procedure. We suggest that children should be involved through a personalized assent procedure, which means that both the content and the process of assent are adjusted to the individual child. In this paper we provide guidance on how to put personalized assent into pediatric biobanking practice and consider both the content and process of personalized assent. In the discussion we argue that the assent procedure itself is formative. Investing in the procedure should be a requirement for pediatric biobank research. Although personalized assent will require certain efforts, the pediatric (biobank) community must be aware of its importance. The investment and trust earned can result in ongoing engagement, important longitudinal information, and stability in/for the research infrastructure, as well as increased knowledge among its participants about research activity. Implementing personalized assent will both respect the child and support biobank research.