The extrusion and elimination of unnecessary gametic/embryonic material is one of the key events that determines the success of further development in all living organisms. Oocytes produce the first polar body to fulfill the maturation process just before ovulation, and release the second polar body immediately after fertilization. The aim of this study was to compile a physiological overview of elimination of polar bodies during early preimplantation development in mice. Our results show that three-quarters of the first polar bodies were lost even at the zygotic stage; the 4-cell stage embryos contained only one (second) polar body, and the elimination of second polar bodies proceeded continuously during later development. Both first and second polar bodies showed several typical features of apoptosis: phosphatidylserine redistribution (observed for the first time in the first polar body), specific DNA degradation, condensed nuclear morphology, and inability to exclude cationic dye from the nucleus during the terminal stage of the apoptotic process. Caspase-3 activity was recorded only in the second polar body. From the morphological point of view, mouse polar bodies acted very similarly to damaged embryonic cells which have lost contact with their neighboring blastomeres. In conclusion, polar bodies possess all the molecular equipment necessary for triggering and executing an active suicide process. Furthermore, similarly as in dying embryonic cells, stressing external conditions (culture in vitro) might accelerate and increase the incidence of apoptotic elimination of the polar bodies in embryos.