Fertilization in higher plants induces many structural and physiological changes in the fertilized egg, and represents the transition from the haploid female gamete to the diploid zygote, the first cell of a sporophyte. Some changes are induced extremely rapidly following fusion with sperm cells and are the preclusions of egg activation. This review focuses on the early changes that occur in the egg after fusion with sperm cells, but before nuclear fusion. Reported changes include cell shrinkage, cell wall formation, polarity change, oscillation in Ca2+ concentration, and DNA synthesis. In addition, the current understanding of egg activation is summarized and the possible functional relevance of the changes is explored.