• overnight mating;
  • short-period mating;
  • retarded embryos;
  • degenerated embryos;
  • spontaneous ovulation


The effects of delayed mating on mouse preimplantation embryos (78 ± 1 hours) were studied by setting up different mating periods in relation to the estimated time of spontaneous ovulation. Copulation occurred even in the late morning and early afternoon after the night of spontaneous ovulation. However, females mated in the early afternoon had no viable embryos at the time of laparotomy. Although embryonic development was not affected in the groups mated 6 or 10 hours after estimated ovulation, the percentage of degenerated embryos was increased in these groups. These results suggest that prolonged intervals between the estimated time of ovulation and mating have some deleterious effects on preimplantation embryos.