Trophoblast invasion is an essential component of haemochorial placentation and has to be considered to relation to reactive changes in the maternal uterine tissues. Some comparative aspects of human and laboratory rodents are discussed and, although there is an obvious phylogenetic gap between the two, many characteristics of placental development are found to be analogous. Trophoblast growth into the uterus is different in different species: localized trophoblast growth forming a bulky tissue (mouse, rat, hamster) contrast with a dispersion of independent trophoblastic elements, forming an interstitial invasion (guinea pig, man). In the rat, mouse, hamster and man retrograde intra-arterial trophoblast migration occurs in maternal vessels supplying blood to the developing placenta. Early changes in maternal tissue might influence trophoblast behaviour. Decidualization probably is a key phenomenon, and the relation of decidual necrosis to trophoblast invasion is considered. Some kind of controlled immune response by the mother also may be involved. These considerations apply to stromal or interstitial invasion as well as to intravascular trophoblast migration but, for the latter, haemodynamic factors probably influence tissue reactions.