Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analyses were performed on supernumerary marker chromosomes (SMCs) detected in 43,273 prenatal diagnoses over a period of 11 years, 1993-2003. A total of 42 pregnancies with SMC were identified, indicating a prevalence of one in 1032. A total of 15 SMCs were endowed with detectable euchromatin (prevalence, 1/2884), including six SMCs containing the cat eye critical region (CECR) on chromosome 22q11.21 (1/7212). De novo SMCs were found in 29 pregnancies (1/1492), including 14 euchromatic SMCs (48.2%). Follow-up studies were available for 24 cases. Nine pregnancies (37.5%) were terminated; two children (8.3%) were born with Pallister-Killian syndrome and cat eye syndrome (CES), respectively; 13 children (54.1%) showed apparently normal development. Familial SMCs were identified in 13 pregnancies (1/3328) from 11 unrelated women. They were all acrocentric. In all, 10 were heterochromatic and one was an extra der(22)t(11;22) chromosome. A total of 12 cases were available for follow-up. One pregnancy was terminated due to anhydramnios, spina bifida, and cystic-dysplastic kidneys; one child suffered from a der(22) syndrome; 10 children (83.3%) appeared unaffected. Studies for uniparental disomy were performed on seven pregnancies and revealed a case of maternal heterodisomy for chromosome 22. So far this is the largest FISH study of prenatally ascertained SMCs and the first study with detailed data on the prevalence. Findings illustrate the spectrum and clinical outcomes of prenatally diagnosed SMCs, and indicate a higher frequency of SMCs than generally assumed.