Sulphonamides with different chemical structures were synthesized and these 13 compounds together with 7 commercially availabe sulpha drugs were tested for antifertility activity by natural mating in male rats. All compounds were given daily by gastric intubation at doses of 125, 150, 250 or 450 mg/kg for 6 weeks. Sulphapyridine caused a dose-related and reversible reduction in fertility at doses between 125 and 450 mg/kg. At the high dose, fertility was reduced to 25.9% of control at 5 weeks after treatment, and complete recovery occurred by 3 weeks after drug withdrawal. This activity was abolished when the pyridine ring was substituted by other heterocyclic rings, except sulphachloropyridazine which had only weak activity. Replacement of the pyridine ring by a hydrogen atom or short aliphatic chains preserved or even enhanced the potency. Thus, sulphanilamide, N1-methylsulphanilamide or N1-diethylsulphanilamide produced a marked but reversible reduction in fertility. Removal or substitution of the N4-amino group on the benzene ring of sulphapyridine with a methyl group destroyed the activity. However, the bromo or nitro analogue (at the para- but not the meta-position of the benzene ring) still possessed some activity. N4-Acetyl derivatives of sulphapyridine, sulphanilamide, and N1-diethylsulphanilamide were as potent as their parent compounds. These results suggest that the presence of pyridine or other heterocyclic rings is not necessary for the antifertility activity of sulphonamide compounds. However, the N4-amino group is indispensable. In addition, acetylation of this amino group does not change the potency. The prototype of the antifertility sulphonamides therefore seems to be sulphanilamide.