Serum immunoreactive inhibin of the luteal phase was measured by radioimmunoassay in 71 patients in in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET). The correlation between the pregnancy outcome and the serial inhibin pattern from the luteal phase to early gestation was studied. In nonconception cycles (n = 35), serum inhibin concentration rose and reached a peak level around 5 or 6 days after oocyte pick-up (OPU), then fell to the level of the early follicular phase. In conception cycles (n = 22), serum inhibin levels rose again 10-15 days after OPU. Serum inhibin levels were significantly higher from 10 days after OPU in multiple pregnancy (n = 5) than in single pregnancy (n = 17). In viable single pregnancy (n = 17), serum inhibin levels were significantly higher than in non-viable pregnancy (n = 14) from 15 days after OPU. Serum inhibin levels in early gestation correlated well with the pregnancy outcome of IVF-ET. These data suggest that inhibin is an important factor for the diagnosis of pregnancy outcome.