Sickle cell and thalassaemia screening: family origin questionnaire

Essential elements for implementation of the family origin questionnaire (FOQ) to help assess if a person is a likely carrier for sickle cell and thalassaemia (SCT).


Paper FOQ form: specification

Electronic FOQ: specification

Family origin questionnaire: PDF

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FOQ country of origin list

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The family origin questionnaire (FOQ) is an integral part of antenatal screening.

It aims to identify the population groups at highest risk of sickle cell, thalassaemia and other haemoglobin variants. It is mandatory for all antenatal booking blood requests.

The FOQ was developed by the NHS Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia (SCT) Screening Programme and tested rigorously in clinical practice.

Local NHS SCT screening providers must use the essential elements when developing their own version of the FOQ.

They may develop a digital, electronic FOQ (e-FOQ), a paper FOQ form or a combined FOQ booking blood request form for all antenatal screening.

This publication provides guidance for local providers developing an FOQ. It includes:

  • essential elements for an e-FOQ
  • essential elements for a paper FOQ form
  • spreadsheet listing alphabetic family origins, FOQ form categories and sub-categories
  • the nationally developed standard FOQ PDF that providers can use or refer to in developing their own version

Contact the PHE Screening helpdesk with any queries about this publication, making sure you include its full title.

Published 1 February 2014
Last updated 9 April 2021 + show all updates
  1. Corrections to 'Paper FOQ form: specification' on how it must be possible to identify gestation at time of sample (weeks and days).

  2. Updated guidance for screening services on providing essential elements of family origin questionnaires for sickle cell and thalassaemia screening.

  3. Updated version of the family origin questionnaire.

  4. Updated 'Family origin questionnaire'.

  5. First published.