We have determined the empirical reproductive risks for heterozygous carriers of complex chromosome rearrangements (CCRs). CCRs are structural rearrangements involving at least three chromosomes and three or more chromosomal breakpoints. Pregnancy outcome, the frequency and type of chromosomal imbalance in the offspring, and the localization and distribution of chromosome breakpoints were analyzed in 25 CCR families ascertained by the birth of a malformed child or repeated spontaneous abortions. This study included two newly ascertained familial CCRs and a total of 67 informative pregnancies. Analysis of the data, after correction for ascertainment bias, showed that the incidence of spontaneous abortions in CCR families was 48.3%. Approximately one in ten pregnancies and 18.4% of all live births to CCR carriers resulted in phenotypically abnormal offspring. One-half of all CCR carrier liveborn offspring were also CCR carriers. There was a 53.7% incidence of an abnormal pregnancy outcome to CCR carriers. We failed to detect any evidence for a non-random involvement of specific chromosomes in CCRs. However, we did observe a non-random distribution of specific breakpoints at sites 1q25, 4q13, 6q27, 7p14, 9q12, 11p11, 11p15, 12q21, 13q31, and 18q21.