This study was undertaken to determine the effect of co-culture with human oviductal cells on human embryos. Spare embryos from gamete intra-Fallopian transfer (GIFT), pronuclear stage transfer (PROST) and in-vitro fertilization/embryo transfer (IVF/ET) programmes were either cultured in serum-supplemented Earle's balanced salt solution alone, or co-cultured in the same solution with oviductal cells from the pronuclear stage (day 1 post-insemination) or two- to four-cell stage (day 2 post-insemination). The co-cultured embryos appeared to have a higher developmental potential (higher rate of blastocyst formation and lower fragmentation rate), although there was no statistical difference in their rate of development, degree of fragmentation and stages attained, when compared with conventionally cultured embryos. The percentage of hatching blastocysts was significantly higher (P less than 0.05, Fisher's exact test) for embryos co-cultured from day 1 post-insemination (38%) than for embryos which had not been co-cultured (7%). The blastocyst hatching rate for embryos co-cultured from day 2 post-insemination was 15%. It was therefore concluded that co-culture of human embryos with oviductal cells could improve the development of the embryos in vitro. The degree of improvement was more pronounced when the co-culture started at an earlier stage.