Changes in the organisation and composition of extracellular matrix in human endometrium during the menstrual cycle and early pregnancy have been assessed by immunofluorescence. Amongst interstitial components, type-III and type V-collagens and fibronectin are present in endometrial stroma throughout the menstrual cycle as well as in first trimester decidua. Type V-collagen epitopes are masked early in the cycle, but become accessible in first trimester decidua. Type VI-collagen is abundant in endometrium in the proliferative phase, but is progressively lost in the secretory phase and decidua, in which it is retained only in blood vessel walls. Vitronectin is present in some blood vessels in decidua. Decidualising stromal cells also produce basement membrane components (type IV-collagen, laminin, heparan sulphate proteoglycan and a glycoprotein family recognised by monoclonal antibody G71) and these become organised into a pericellular aura.