Between May 1987 and November 1988, 505 early amniocentesis within the 15th week of gestation were performed at the First Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 'L. Mangiagalli' of the University of Milan and at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of 'Gaslini' hospital in Genoa. A total number of ten abnormal fetal karyotypes were diagnosed. In addition, one case of pseudomosaicism (not confirmed on fetal blood) and one case of osteogenesis imperfecta type II (observed at ultrasound examination) were also detected. Eleven pregnancies were therefore terminated because of an abnormal fetus. Out of 494 pregnancies (excluding terminated pregnancies) there were 16 fetal losses within the 28th week; ten of these occurred in the 2 weeks following the procedure. There were 475 live-births, of which 447 were term deliveries and the other 28 deliveries occurred before the 37th week of gestation.