The present investigation studied the influence of the blastocyst's state of activity on the "window" of implantation in the receptive uterus in the mouse. The receptive state of the uterus is defined as the limited time when the uterine milieu is favorable to blastocyst acceptance and implantation. In the mouse, implantation occurs on day 4 (day 1 = vaginal plug). Ovariectomy in the morning of day 4 prior to preimplantation estrogen secretion results in blastocyst dormancy and delayed implantation. These conditions are maintained by continued progesterone (P4) treatment but can be terminated with an injection of estrogen leading to blastocyst activation and subsequent implantation. Blastocyst transfers into intact pseudopregnant mice demonstrated that the window of implantation on day 4 remains open at least through 1800 h for normal day 4 blastocysts but only up to 1400 h for dormant blastocysts. These results suggested that the blastocyst's state of activity influenced the normally operative window of implantation in the receptive uterus. This finding was further confirmed by inducing conditions of delayed implantation in pregnant donors and pseudopregnant recipients. They were ovariectomized on the morning of day 4 and maintained with daily injections of P4 from days 5 to 7. On day 7, dormant blastocysts from P4-treated delayed donors were transferred into the uteri of P4-treated delayed pseudopregnant recipients at 1, 2, 4, or 8 h after an injection of 17 beta-estradiol (E2). Dormant blastocysts transferred into delayed recipients at 1 h after E2 treatment resulted in implantation in most of the animals as compared to complete failure of blastocysts to implant after transfer to P4-treated delayed recipients at 4 or 8 h after E2 treatment. However, implantation did occur in P4-treated delayed recipients at these later hours of E2 treatment when the P4-treated delayed donors also received E2 prior to blastocyst transfer. Furthermore, the majority of day 4 normal blastocysts implanted when transferred into P4-treated delayed recipients even at 16 h after E2 treatment. Interestingly, day 7 dormant blastocysts cultured for 8 or 24 h for in vitro activation failed to implant after transfer to P4-treated delayed pseudopregnant recipients at 4 ir 8 h after E2 treatment, although they did implant after transfer at 1 h after E2 treatment. As expected, normal day 4 blastocysts failed to implant after transfer to P4-treated delayed pseudopregnant recipients. Thus, these results establish that the blastocyst's state of activity alters the timing of implantation (window) in the receptive uterus. Thus, the window for successful implantation could be defined as a limited time span when the activated stage of the blastocyst is superimposed on the receptive state of the uterus. This window remains open for a shorter period for dormant blastocysts than for a normal or dormant blastocysts after E2 activation. Furthermore, dormant blastocysts, which apparently achieved metabolic activation in vitro, failed to attain the same status as blastocysts activated in utero by E2 for implantation into the receptive uterus. A key finding of this investigation is that E2 induces very rapidly, but transiently (1 h), a factor(s) in the P4-primed uterus that activates the dormant blastocysts for implantation in the receptive uterus.