In cases of severe oligohydramnios, sonographic diagnosis is hampered by poor visibility and by increased fetal flexion. Therefore, 74 artificial instillations of amniotic fluid were performed in 50 pregnancies by sonographic guidance. Fetal diseases included Potter's syndrome, obstructive uropathy, cystic kidneys (20 cases); Meckel's syndrome, C. de Lange syndrome, cytomegaly fetopathy (1 case each); VATER association (2 cases); triploidy (5 cases); severe intrauterine growth retardation (8 cases); and premature rupture of membranes (12 cases). By improved sonographic visibility and the observation of fetal behaviour (drinking, filling of stomach and bladder, voiding of bladder after artificial instillation of amniotic fluid), the fetal anatomy could be studied more accurately, malformations could be identified or excluded, and bladder function could be examined. Thus, differentiation between fetuses without functioning kidneys and those with severe intrauterine growth retardation becomes possible. Further, re-aspiration on the day following instillation permitted determination of the karyotype. Finally, the artificial instillation of amniotic fluid is a hazardous intervention (rupture of membranes, labour) and should be reserved only for a small number of selected cases with diagnostically unclear oligohydramnios. For these cases, it seems to be the method of choice permitting a variety of diagnostic information to be obtained.