Human spermatozoa accumulate in vitro in diluted follicular fluids obtained from follicles from which the eggs have been fertilized. Using capillary assays under a variety of experimental conditions (ascending or descending gradients of follicular fluid, or no gradient at all) and microscopic assays in which individual spermatozoa could be followed, we found that the sperm accumulation in follicular fluid was the result of both sperm chemotaxis and chemokinesis and eventually hyperactivation-like motility. We determined the optimal conditions for sperm accumulation, which involved sperm preincubation (possibly to induce sperm capacitation) and proper dilution of follicular fluid. In all the assays, the net accumulation was low, probably reflecting the chemotactic responsiveness of only a small fraction of the sperm population at any given time. We partially fractionated follicular fluid in a Centricon microconcentrator (Amicon, Danvers, MA) and by acetone precipitation, and found that at least one of the chemotactic factors is a small (< 10-kDa) molecule that is probably nonhydrophobic. This is the first time that sperm chemotaxis and chemokinesis in response to a follicular factor(s) in mammals has been established and has been distinguished from other processes that might cause sperm accumulation. The physiological significance of these findings is discussed.