Metaphase II (M II) mouse oocytes were subjected to a parthenogenetic stimulus (8% ethanol) or fertilized in vitro at various times following the extrusion of the first polar body. The oocytes progressively develop the ability for full activation. Their responsiveness to activation stimuli not only increases, but also changes qualitatively with time. Newly arrested oocytes do not respond at all; then, when the ability to undergo meiotic anaphase II first develops, the response is defective: following extrusion of the second polar body (II PB), the oocyte does not enter interphase but arrests again at metaphase (M III-arrest). Finally, oocytes gain the ability for full activation including the entry to interphase. Depending on the type of activating stimulus, oocytes exhibit the capacity for full activation at different ages. The oocyte arrest in M III is similar to M II and can be released by subsequent activation. Such oocytes undergo anaphase III, extrude a third polar body (III PB), and form an aneuploid female pronuclei.