BACKGROUND Meiosis is a unique form of cell division in which cells divide twice but DNA is duplicated only once. Errors in chromosome segregation during meiosis will result in aneuploidy, followed by loss of the conceptus during pregnancy or birth defects. During mitosis, cells utilize a mechanism called the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) to ensure faithful chromosome segregation. A similar mechanism has been uncovered for meiosis in the last decade, especially in the past several years. METHODS For this review, we included data and relevant information obtained through a PubMed database search for all articles published in English from 1991 through 2011 which included the term 'meiosis', 'spindle assembly checkpoint', or 'SAC'. RESULTS There are 91 studies included. Evidence for the existence of SAC functions in meiosis is provided by studies on the SAC proteins mitotic-arrest deficient-1 (Mad1), Mad2, budding uninhibited by benzimidazole-1 (Bub1), Bub3, BubR1 and Mps1; microtubule-kinetochore attachment regulators Ndc80 complex, chromosomal passenger complex, mitotic centromere-associated kinesin (MCAK), kinetochore null 1 (KNL1) and Mis12 complex and spindle stability regulators. CONCLUSIONS SAC and its regulators exist and function in meiosis, and their malfunctions may cause germ cell aneuploidy. However, species and sexual differences exist. Moreover, interaction of SAC components with other regulators is still poorly understood, which needs further study.