Gonadotropins, prolactin (PRL), testosterone (T), Δ<sub>4</sub>-androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate and cortisol (F) levels were determined from 14 days before birth to term in 3 female and 3 male ovine fetuses with a chronically implanted venous catheter, and in the same animals from birth to 72 h of age. In both sexes, plasma gonadotropins and androgens were low throughout the period of study while plasma F increased with gestational age. After birth, plasma gonadotropins and PRL tended to increase progressively with time while PRL concentrations were significantly higher in female than in male lambs. F and T concentrations decreased significantly within the first 12 and 6 h of postnatal life. Higher T values were again observed at 36 h in male lambs. These data indicate that the fetal hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis is relatively quiescent in the last 14 days of gestation but is activated within the first 72 h after birth.