This study reviews the frequency and distribution of numerical and structural chromosomal abnormalities in spermatozoa from normal men obtained by the human-hamster system and by multicolor-FISH analysis on decondensed sperm nuclei. Results from large sperm karyotyping series analyzed by chromosome banding techniques and results from multicolor FISH in sperm nuclei (of at least 104 spermatozoa per donor and per probe) were reviewed in order to establish baseline values of the sperm chromosome abnormalities in normal men. In karyotyping studies, the mean disomy frequency in human sperm is 0.03% for each of the autosomes, and 0.11% for the sex chromosomes, lower than those reported in sperm nuclei by FISH studies using a similar methodology (0.09% and 0.26 %, respectively). Both types of studies coincide in that chromosome 21 and sex chromosomes have a greater tendency to suffer segregation errors than the rest of the autosomes. The mean incidence of diploidy, only available from multicolor FISH in sperm nuclei, is 0.19%. Inter-donor differences observed for disomy and diploidy frequencies among FISH studies of decondensed sperm nuclei using a similar methodology could reflect real differences among normal men, but they could also reflect the subjective application of the scoring criteria among laboratories. The mean frequency of structural aberrations in sperm karyotypes is 6.6 %, including all chromosome types of abnormalities. Chromosome 9 shows a high susceptibility to be broken and 50 % of the breakpoints are located in 9q, between the centromere and the 9qh+ region. Structural chromosome aberrations for chromosomes 1 and 9 have also been analyzed in human sperm nuclei by multicolor FISH. Unfortunately, this assay does not allow to determine the specific type of structural aberrations observed in sperm nuclei. An association between advancing donor age and increased frequency of numerical and structural chromosome abnormalities has been reported in spermatozoa of normal men. Copyright © 2005 S. Karger AG.