At your first appointment your community midwife will complete a family origin questionnaire with you.

This is used by the laboratory to decide if your blood requires screening for sickle cell and thalassaemia. These are inherited variations in blood that are passed on through families.

They can be passed without causing any symptoms, but if both parents carry these variations, there is a risk the baby could experience anaemia or other medical complications.

These variations are most common where families have originated (no matter how many generations ago) from:

  • Africa
  • The Caribbean
  • Asia
  • The Middle East
  • Southern Europe
  • Mediterranean
  • Some other countries

They are not diseases, but variations in our red blood cells that help us adapt to living in different countries.

If you have any family members from another country (even if you are white British) please ensure your community midwife is aware of this so that your blood can be tested.