In mammalian meiosis, homologous chromosome synapsis is coupled with recombination. As in most eukaryotes, mammalian meiocytes have checkpoints that monitor the fidelity of these processes. We report that the mouse ortholog (Trip13) of pachytene checkpoint 2 (PCH2), an essential component of the synapsis checkpoint in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Caenorhabditis elegans, is required for completion of meiosis in both sexes. TRIP13-deficient mice exhibit spermatocyte death in pachynema and loss of oocytes around birth. The chromosomes of mutant spermatocytes synapse fully, yet retain several markers of recombination intermediates, including RAD51, BLM, and RPA. These chromosomes also exhibited the chiasmata markers MLH1 and MLH3, and okadaic acid treatment of mutant spermatocytes caused progression to metaphase I with bivalent chromosomes. Double mutant analysis demonstrated that the recombination and synapsis genes Spo11, Mei1, Rec8, and Dmc1 are all epistatic to Trip13, suggesting that TRIP13 does not have meiotic checkpoint function in mice. Our data indicate that TRIP13 is required after strand invasion for completing a subset of recombination events, but possibly not those destined to be crossovers. To our knowledge, this is the first model to separate recombination defects from asynapsis in mammalian meiosis, and provides the first evidence that unrepaired DNA damage alone can trigger the pachytene checkpoint response in mice.