This study investigated the role of the leptin system in human oocyte maturation and its prognostic value for IVF outcome. The protein concentrations of leptin and soluble leptin receptor in follicular fluid were determined and the free leptin index (FLI) were established. Additionally, mRNA expression levels of different leptin receptor (ObR) isoforms and of PTX3 and HAS2 in cumulus cells were quantified, mutually compared and analysed relative to FLI, body mass index, age and number of retrieved oocytes. Expression of all target genes was detected in the cumulus cells, with relatively low concentrations of ObR-Long. Strong mutual correlations were found between mRNA expression levels of leptin receptor isoforms (P < 0.001) and also between the short isoforms of the leptin receptor and PTX3 (P < 0.001). Although the mean values of the pregnant and non-pregnant groups did not differ significantly for any of the variables, the chance that treatment resulted in ongoing pregnancy was higher with leptin ≤0.5 ng/mg protein compared with concentrations >0.5 ng/mg protein (P < 0.05). It is concluded that the leptin system appears to play a role in the IVF protocol, whereby signal transduction in cumulus cells occurs predominantly via the short isoforms of ObR.