The ability of maternal chromatin to support full-term development is attained during oocyte growth. The aim of this study was to identify when during the growth phase the maternal chromatin developed the capacity to support term development. Mature metaphase 11-arrested oocytes that contained chromatin from oocytes at different stages of oocyte growth were constructed by micromanipulation. The oocytes were fertilized in vitro, developed to the blastocyst stage in vitro, and transferred to recipients to assay developmental potential. The results demonstrate, firstly, that the origin of the maternal chromatin has no effect on the rate of oocyte maturation, fertilization, or development to the blastocyst in vitro. Secondly we demonstrate that maternal chromatin is first competent to support development to term during the latter half of oocyte growth when oocytes are 60-69 μm in diameter in juvenile mice or 50-59 μm in diameter in adult mice. These data show that epigenetic modifications necessary for postimplantation development occur during a specific phase of oocyte growth.