Seventy-two fetuses or neonates with non-immune hydrops were examined between 1983 and 1988. The commonest association was chromosome abnormality; 11 fetuses had a 45,X karyotype and 11 autosomal trisomy. Chromosome abnormality was suspected in a further 20 on necropsy findings but chromosome culture was not possible or unsuccessful. In 11 cases there was histological evidence of infection; seven babies had major structural anomalies and six affected fetuses were twins. In six (8%) the cause of hydrops was not determined compared with eight (16%) of cases examined between 1976 and 1982. Hydrops was diagnosed more frequently while the fetus was alive, before 20 weeks' gestation, and associated with chromosome anomaly than found previously.