Although the in vitro fertilisation index is a parameter commonly employed to investigate sperm functional activity, little attention has been given to the occurrence of parthenogenesis. The purpose of this study was to study at 6 h or 22 h incubation: (a) the cleavage-related events that occur in in vitro incubated mouse oocytes, in the absence (parthenogenesis) or presence of homologous spermatozoa; (b) the effect of mineral oil, commonly used in in vitro fertilisation assays; (c) the effect of piroxicam, a prostaglandin synthesis inhibitor, on the parthenogenetic rate; and (d) the influence on parthenogenesis of spontaneous loss of the cumulus oophorus coat during incubation. Under the experimental conditions employed, there was parthenogenetic activation and activation due to fertilisation. Both increased in a time-dependent manner. The mineral oil enhanced the parthenogenetic rate at 22 h incubation. However, it did not have any effect when the oocytes were inseminated. Since we can not discriminate how much of this activation was due to fertilisation and how much to parthenogenesis we must be very careful with this comparison. Piroxicam 10-8 M did not show any effect on the mouse oocyte parthenogenetic rate at neither 6 h or 22 h incubation. Our results suggest that oocyte susceptibility to spontaneous parthenogenetic activation may be modified by the presence of the cumulus and corona radiata cells. In conclusion, we consider that further rigorous studies on these influences are necessary in order to confer more reliability on the results.