This study was performed to establish an individual bovine oocyte-IVP system using a chemically defined simple medium (mSOFaa containing 1 mg/ml polyvinyl alcohol: PVA) and to investigate the effects of epidermal growth factor (EGF) during oocyte maturation on in vitro maturation, fertilization and embryonic development. Cumulus–oocyte complexes were collected from bovine ovaries and were matured in mSOFaa containing PVA (control medium) supplemented with 0, 1, 10 or 50 ng/ml of EGF. Two further groups (TCM199 and mSOFaa, supplemented with 10% fetal calf serum were also included. In this study, mSOFaa containing PVA were used as a basic medium for fertilization and embryo development in vitro. Experiments were conducted in both group- and individual-IVP systems. In the group-IVP system, the proportion of matured oocytes (MII) in the control medium (62.7%±5.0%) was significantly (p<0.05) lower than in all other treatments, and in the individual-IVP system, the addition of 1 ng/ml EGF significantly (p<0.05) increased the maturation rate (1 ng/ml EGF vs control: 76.2%±5.4% vs 57.1%±14.4%). The addition of EGF did not affect the proportions of penetrated and normally fertilized oocytes in either individual- or group-culture systems. In the group-IVP system, no significant difference among treatments was found in the rate of blastocyst formation, whereas in the individual-IVP system the control medium supplemented with 10 ng/ml EGF resulted in a significantly (p<0.05) higher the rate of blastocyst formation (20.0±5.2%) than that in the control medium (6.2%±3.5%). These results indicate that bovine oocytes can successfully develop to blastocysts in an individual-IVP system using a single chemically defined medium, and that the group-IVP system also resulted in a similar level of blastocyst formation to that in a standard multiple-media system in our laboratory. The effect of EGF during oocyte maturation medium differed depending on whether embryos were cultured individually or in groups.