Co-cultures of embryos with somatic cells, usually in the form of monolayers, or conditioned medium from these somatic cells, results in development past the early stage blocks and the formation of hatched blastocysts. Optimum rates of development are not achieved, however, and the task is to investigate components of the oviduct that are obligatory or facilitative for embryo development. Glycine and alanine are amino acids present in much higher concentrations in oviduct fluid than in serum or culture media. Glycoproteins specifically produced by the oviduct around oestrus bind to embryos and aid development but are absent from most culture media. These glycoproteins are induced by oestrogen in vivo but not in vitro. It is our contention that co-cultures of mammalian embryos should include appropriate concentrations of amino acids and a source of embryotrophic glycoproteins as an additive or by including stromal cells in addition to epithelial cells.