Administration of melatonin to advance the breeding season in sheep has been widely used, since this hormone conveys the photoperiodic signal to the reproductive neuroendocrine axis. An increased lambing percentage has been reported following such treatment during anoestrus, which could be mediated through a higher rate of embryonic survival, either by an improvement in luteal function or by a reduction in the antiluteolytic mechanisms. The aim of this article is to review the body of knowledge on the effect of melatonin on the ovine ovary, the embryo and the establishment of pregnancy. Some studies using synchronized ewes have found that melatonin treatments during anoestrus do not improve ovulation rate by modifying the timing of follicle emergence, but increasing the number of ovulatory follicles by decreasing the atresia of medium and large follicles. On the other hand, the addition of melatonin to the in vitro maturation medium does not improve oocyte maturation rate in oocytes from sheep ovaries recovered either in anoestrus or in the breeding season. However, a luteotrophic effect of melatonin at either short or medium term has been reported. We have recently observed that melatonin implants tend to improve the survival of embryos collected from ewes after superovulation in anoestrus. More specifically, melatonin induced a significant reduction of the number and rate of non-viable (degenerate and retarded) embryos. Preliminary data from our laboratory suggest that the uterine sensitivity to progesterone – in terms of progesterone receptor expression – of superovulated ewes could be reduced by melatonin treatment. It can be concluded that the success of exogenous melatonin as a means to improve lamb production of sheep is due, at least in part, to an improvement of luteal support and embryonic survival.