The genes okra and spindle-B act during meiosis in Drosophila to repair double-stranded DNA breaks (DSBs) associated with meiotic recombination. Unexpectedly, mutations in these genes cause dorsoventral patterning defects during oogenesis. These defects result from a failure to accumulate Gurken protein, which is required to initiate dorsoventral patterning during oogenesis. Here we find that the block in Gurken accumulation in the oocyte cytoplasm reflects activation of a meiotic checkpoint in response to the persistence of DSBs in the nucleus. We also show that Vasa is a target of this meiotic checkpoint, and so may mediate the checkpoint-dependent translational regulation of Gurken.