1. To investigate the effect of the female reproductive hormones on muscle function, patients undergoing in vitro fertilization were tested during two phases of treatment. The first was following the downregulation of pituitary gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) receptors and the second after 9 days of gonadotrophin injections. 2. Maximal strength and fatiguability of the first dorsal interosseus muscle were assessed when oestrogen and progesterone were low, and less than 2 weeks later when oestrogen production reached supraphysiological levels. 3. There were no significant changes in either strength or fatigue resistance during acute, massive fluctuations in oestrogen. These results occurred at a time when progesterone levels remained relatively low. 4. Contrary to previous work, the present results suggest that oestrogen does not affect muscle strength.