The present study was designed to investigate whether caffeine administered daily throughout the estrous cycle prior to fertilization affected the development of the subsequent preimplantation day 5 rat embryo. The viability parameters chosen for assessment were glucose utilization, cell number, and stage of embryonic development (morula to hatched blastocyst). Two independently replicated experiments were conducted. Together these experiments demonstrated that after fertilization, a proportion of affected oocytes maturing in a caffeine-perfused ovarian environment used and oxidised glucose at a significantly higher rate and were significantly more advanced developmentally compared with their litter mates or with the control counterparts. Cell number per embryo and the number of embryos recovered (litter size) remained constant, suggesting that caffeine, at the doses used, is unlikely to affect the ovulation rate or prevent fertilization. This study is significant because it demonstrates for the first time that a drug such as caffeine, when administered prior to ovulation and genomic activation, causes a quantitative difference in growth promoting energy utilization in a proportion of susceptible embryos after genome activation. A link between genomic imprinting and changed developmental program in the preimplantation embryos was suggested.