family origin questionnaire (FOQ) - recessive inheritance tool

Last reviewed 01/2018

Screening and Diagnostic Uses of the Family Origin Questionnaire

  • in low prevalence areas the Family Origin Questionnaire (FOQ) is principally used as a tool to identify women who are at highest risk of being a carrier or having a baby with a haemoglobin variant or disorder
  • in high and low prevalence areas the FOQ is used as a tool by laboratory staff to help with the interpretation of results, particularly in the interpretation of results indicating possible alpha or beta thalassaemia
    • family origin is also relevant in the interpretation of red blood cell indices and essential for accurate prenatal diagnosis. More information about its use can found in the laboratory handbook:
    • therefore you need to ask for the family origins of both the woman AND the baby's father going back at least 2 generations (or more if possible). Women with Sickle Cell Disease Screening will also identify women with sickle cell disease, who should be considered "high risk"requiring specialist care during pregnancy from an Obstetrician and Haematologist, and who should be booked for a hospital delivery.

"Low risk" Family Origins

  • people with family origins from the countries listed below are considered at low risk for haemoglobin variants
    • United Kingdom (White)
      • England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales
    • Northern European (White)
      • Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland (Eire), Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland
    • Some populations of the following countries have Northern European origin (countries listed above) and are also at low risk for haemoglobin variants:
      • Northern European Origin (White)
        • Australia, North America (USA, Canada), South Africa, New Zealand.

The Family Origin Questionnaire can be downloaded from