We have previously detected chromosome abnormalities in human embryos whilst identifying the sex for preimplantation diagnosis of X-linked disease. In this study we assess the incidence of these abnormalities, both for sex chromosomes and autosomes 1 and 17, using dual fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). Sixty-nine normally fertilized embryos of good morphology at the 6-10 cell stage (day 3 post-insemination) were examined. The embryos were spread whole using HCl and Tween 20 to dissolve the cytoplasm. Thirty-four embryos were analyzed for the sex chromosomes and 35 for autosomes 1 and 17. All probes were directly labelled with fluorochromes allowing analysis in 2 h. Control lymphocytes demonstrated that the probes were of high specificity. For the sex chromosomes, five embryos were mosaic (15 per cent) with the remaining 29 being uniformly XX or XY. In no case was an XX nucleus found in an otherwise XY embryo, indicating that even though mosaicism for the sex chromosomes is present, such abnormalities would not lead to a misdiagnosis of sex. For the autosomes, 16 embryos were abnormal (46 per cent); one embryo was triploid, one was monosomic for chromosome 1, and ten others were diploid mosaics (three diploid/aneuploid, three diploid/polyploid, and four diploid/haploid). A further four embryos had variable chromosome numbers in the majority of nuclei which appeared to be the result of uncontrolled mitotic division. The presence of haploidy or double monosomy, which occurred in 15 per cent of nuclei, has important implications for the diagnosis of trisomies and dominant disorders.