Summary. A compilation of the cytogenetic results taken from 79 published surveys of couples with two or more pregnancy losses (comprising 8208 women and 7834 men) showed an overall prevalence of major chromosome abnormalities of 2.9%. This is five to six times higher than that of the general adult population. In every group of chromosome abnormalities in the parents a predominance of female to male affected was noted (2:1). Approximately 50% of all chromosome abnormalities detected were balanced reciprocal translocations, 24% were Robertsonian translocations, 12% were sex chromosomal mosaicisms in females, and the rest consisted of inversions and other sporadic abnormalities. Parents with two or more idiopathic pregnancy losses should be karyotyped to aid in management and counselling. When a translocation or other abnormality (e.g. X chromosomal mosaicism) predisposing to an abnormal zygote is found, prenatal diagnosis is indicated in future pregnancies. Even when parental karyotypes are normal, prenatal diagnosis should be considered in subsequent pregnancies of parents with two or more pregnancy losses because of the high incidence of chromosome abnormalities in spontaneous abortions. For the same reason, if a single previous pregnancy loss is known to have been chromosomally aneuploid, parental karyotypes may have to be examined (depending upon the finding in the pregnancy loss), and prenatal diagnosis should also be considered in subsequent pregnancies.