During 1986, approximately 2000 women in Australia are likely to relinquish a baby for adoption. A study is presented of 20 relinquishing mothers that demonstrates a very high incidence of pathological grief reactions which have failed to resolve although many years have elapsed since the relinquishment. This group had abnormally high scores for depression and psychosomatic symptoms on the Middlesex Hospital questionnaire. Factors that militate against the resolution of grief after relinquishment are discussed. Guidelines for the medical profession that are aimed at preventing psychological disability in relinquishing mothers are outlined.