An improved procedure for human sperm capacitation based upon calcium deprivation using a modified Tyrode's medium is described. Replacement of CaCl2 by SrCl2 significantly increased the penetration of zona-free hamster eggs after 20 hours of sperm preincubation, compared with parallel sperm aliquots incubated in normal medium. The effect of an extra 4 hours' sperm preincubation produced no significant shift in fertilizing ability. Addition of 0.1 mM ethyleneglycol-bis-(beta-amino-ethyl ether)-N,N,N',N'- tetraacetic acid (EGTA) to the strontium-substituted medium resulted in a further significant increase in the penetration rate as well as a significant increase in polyspermy. The average increase in the penetration capacity (penetration rate X polyspermy) of the strontium/EGTA-preincubated spermatozoa was approximately tenfold, with no significant shift as a result of an extra 4 hours' preincubation.