The parents of 226 of the 360 patients with anencephalus or spinal bifida or both, born in Belfast 1964 to 1968, were visited to document the occurrence of these malformations among other relatives. The proportions of sibs with anencephalus and spina bifida were 10.41% for spina bifida index patients and 6.4% for anencephalus. For patients born after the index patients, the proportions were 12.19% and 6.35%, respectively. The overall incidence of either malformation among sibs was 8.87%. This estimate is higher than the 4 to 5% commonly reported and is probably related to the specific background of the Northern Ireland population, which is known to have the highest incidence of CNS malformations in the United Kingdom. The substantial size of this risk indicates the importance of amniocentesis for monitoring subsequent pregnancies of women who have had one child with a CNS malformation.