While neural tube defects (NTD) overall have a female sex bias, this does not apply to all sites along the neuraxis. The findings regarding sex and NTD in a series of midtrimester fetuses are reviewed, and then analysed in terms of the recent hypothesis that during embryogenesis of the human neural tube there are multiple closure sites, rather than a single zipping up process. Females more often than males tend to have craniorachischisis, spina bifida involving the thorax, the holoacrania form of anencephaly, anencephaly and cervical spina bifida and encephalocoeles, while males more often than females have spina bifida affecting the lower spine. Meroacrania occurs equally in both sexes. Other sources indicate that there is a male bias in frontoethmoidal encephalocoeles. Since sex seems to be a factor that is differentially associated with lack of closure of specific areas of the neural tube, it would seem to support the notion that there are multiple closure sites in the human neural tube. However, no association was found between a particular sex and either the type of NTD which have an isolated abnormality or those NTD associated with developmental abnormalities of other body systems. © 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.