Summary. Using the surgical approach of post-coital ligation and transection of the distal oviduct at different times relative to ovulation, together with subsequent recovery of the eggs, gilts mated at the onset of oestrus were studied for progression of viable spermatozoa within the isthmus. Results are derived from 76 animals and examination of 1047 eggs.
Transection of the isthmus 1·5–2·0 cm proximal to the utero-tubal junction at intervals from 3 to 36 h after mating prevented fertilization in 269 of 270 eggs, whereas 98% of 223 eggs were fertilized in the control oviducts. Transection at 38 h (pre-ovulatory), 40 h (peri-ovulatory) and 42–44 h (post-ovulatory) after mating yielded, respectively, 5%, 40% and 100% fertilization. The mean number of spermatozoa associated with the zona pellucida increased in a parallel manner. These results, and those obtained with ligatures placed closer to the site of fertilization just after ovulation, indicate a pre-ovulatory arrest of viable spermatozoa in the caudal region of the isthmus for 36 h or more followed by an active ad-ovarian redistribution.