The effects of PRL on fertilization and cleavage of human oocytes and subsequent pregnancy were studied. Forty-five patients (47 cycles) with euprolactinemic normal menstrual cycles undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) for the treatment of tubal infertility were selected for this study. The patients were divided into three groups dependent upon their mean serum PRL concentrations for the 3 days prior to Oocyte retrieval; hypoprolactinemic ( < 10 µg/I), euprolactinemic (10–30 µg/l) and hyperprolactinemic cycles (≧30 µg/I). Multiple follicular development was induced with hMG, and 10 patients were randomized to receive bromocriptine beginning with the previous menstrual cycle. In the hypoprolactinemic cycle group the fertilization rate was significantly lower than in the hyperprolactinemic cycle group, and the cleavage rate was significantly lower than in the other groups. The fertilization rates and the cleavage rates in the hyperprolactinemic cycle group were higher than those in the euprolactinemic cycle group; however, these differences were not statistically significant. While the pregnancy rates in the euprolactinemic cycle group were higher than in the other two groups, the numbers were too small for meaningful statistical comparison. The present study demonstrates that below normal concentrations of PRL have deleterious effects on IVF outcome. These data suggest that PRL may play a beneficial stimulatory role in Oocyte maturation and the acquisition of developmental capacity.