The management of isolated fetal choroid plexus cysts remains controversial. We have prospectively studied 15,565 pregnancies at two large obstetric units for the presence of choroid plexus cysts. In all cases where cysts were present at 19 weeks' gestation or greater, and were multiple, bilateral or solitary and greater than 5 mm maximum diameter, women were offered amniocentesis or placental biopsy, irrespective of the presence or absence of other abnormalities. Choroid plexus cysts were present in 152 (0.98 per cent) of cases. Four cases (2.6 per cent) of autosomal trisomy (three of trisomy 18, one of trisomy 21) were detected on prenatal karyotyping. In all cases, choroid plexus cysts were the only detectable prenatal anomaly. This study and a review of other large studies do not support the view that isolated choroid plexus cysts are a benign variant, the risk of trisomy being 1 in 82. Until further evidence is available, we recommend that cases of isolated fetal choroid plexus cysts at 19 weeks' gestation or greater should be offered prenatal karyotyping.