Karyotypic studies of aborted fetuses have been used to draw the inference that the proportion of conceptuses with chromosome abnormalities is very high. Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) studies of blastomeres from early cleavage embryos have provided some support for this inference but they are limited to the study of a few chromosomes. We describe the novel application of comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) to the study of numerical and structural abnormalities of single blastomeres from disaggregated 3-day-old human embryos. CGH results were obtained for 63 blastomeres from 12 embryos. Identification of all chromosomes with the exception of chromosomes 17, 19, 20 and 22 was possible. The embryos divided into four groups: (1) embryos with a normal CGH karyotype seen in all blastomeres; (2) embryos with consistent aneuploidy suggesting meiotic non-disjunction had occurred; (3) embryos that were mosaic generally with one or more cells showing aneuploidy for one or two chromosomes but some with cells showing extensive aneuploidy; and (4) one embryo with extensive aneuploidy in all blastomeres. The extensive aneuploidy in group 4 is interpreted as corresponding to the random aneuploidy seen in "chaotic" embryos reported by using interphase FISH. Partial chromosome loss and gain following chromosome breakage was observed in one embryo. Our analysis provides basic biological information on the occurrence of constitutional and post-zygotic chromosome abnormalities in early human embryos. Used in conjunction with embryo biopsy, diagnostic CGH should allow the exclusion of a proportion of embryos that appear normal but that have a poor probability of survival and, therefore, may improve the implantation rate after in vitro fertilization.