We previously reported increased follicular fluid progesterone (P(4)) concentrations in ewes fed an n-3 compared to an n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)-enriched diet, but detected no differential effect of n-3 and n-6 PUFA-enriched high-density lipoproteins (HDL) on granulosa cell (GC) steroidogenesis in vitro. Moreover, net n-6 PUFA-enriched HDL reduced early embryo development, but in the absence of a net uptake of FA. Consequently, we hypothesised that a) effects of n-3 PUFA on ovarian steroidogenesis are mediated by theca rather than GCs and b) during embryo culture lipids are acquired solely from the albumin fraction of serum, so that albumin-delivered n-3 and n-6 PUFA exert a greater differential effect on embryo development than either low-density lipoprotein (LDL)- or HDL-delivered PUFA. Data confirmed that n-3 PUFA increases P(4) production solely in theca cells and that this is associated with an increase in STAR transcript expression. Furthermore, LDL- and HDL-delivered n-3 PUFA are equally efficacious in this regard during the first 96 h of culture, but thereafter only HDL-delivered n-3 PUFA induces this effect in partially luteinised theca cells. We also demonstrate that albumin is the sole serum fraction that leads to a net uptake of FA during embryo culture. PUFA-enriched serum and albumin increased the yield of morphologically poorer quality blastocysts with increased transcript expression for the antioxidant enzyme SOD1. Important differential effects of n-3 and n-6 PUFA on ovarian steroidogenesis acting solely on theca cells are identified, but differential effects of PUFA on embryo development are less apparent.