17 beta-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-3 (17 beta HSD3) deficiency is an autosomal recessive form of male pseudohermaphroditism caused by mutations in the HSD17B3 gene. In a nationwide study on male pseudohermaphroditism among all pediatric endocrinologists and clinical geneticists in The Netherlands, 18 17 beta HSD3-deficient index cases were identified, 12 of whom initially had received the tentative diagnosis androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS). The phenotypes and genotypes of these patients were studied. Endocrine diagnostic methods were evaluated in comparison to mutation analysis of the HSD17B3 gene. RT-PCR studies were performed on testicular ribonucleic acid of patients homozygous for two different splice site mutations. The minimal incidence of 17 beta HSD3 deficiency in The Netherlands and the corresponding carrier frequency were calculated. Haplotype analysis of the chromosomal region of the HSD17B3 gene in Europeans, North Americans, Latin Americans, Australians, and Arabs was used to establish whether recurrent identical mutations were ancient or had repeatedly occurred de novo.