Little is known about the first meiotic prophase stages in the human female because these occur during fetal life, and only a few studies have addressed aneuploid human oocytes. In this paper, the synaptic process in the meiotic prophase in three 47, XX + 18 cases is analyzed. A complete study of the dynamics of centromeres and telomeres, cohesin core and synapsis development in aneuploid female meiosis was performed. Investigation of chromosome dynamics in prophase of trisomy 18 oocytes show that these events follow the major patterns seen earlier in euploid oocytes. However, there is a significant delay in the resolution of bouquet topology which could relate to the presence of a surplus chromosome 18 axial element in zygotene oocytes. Pachytene oocytes displayed normal synapsis among the three chromosome 18s. However, in some oocytes the surplus chromosome 18 core was aligned to the bivalent 18. As ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3 related kinase (ATR) has been described as a marker for late-pairing chromosomes in mice, ATR distribution was analyzed in human meiocytes - spermatocytes, euploid oocytes and trisomic oocytes. In contrast to the observations made in mice, no preferential staining for late-pairing chromosomes was observed in humans. In the cases studied, bivalent synapses progressed as in a normal ovary, contrasting with the hypothesis that a surplus chromosome can modify pairing of other chromosomes. © 2005 Society for Reproduction and Fertility.