Abstract An acute heat stress event after the LH surge increased interleukin 6 (IL6) levels in the follicular fluid of the ovulatory follicle in hyperthermic cows. To examine direct consequences of a physiologically-relevant elevated temperature (41.0°C) on the cumulus-oocyte complex (COC), IL6 transcript abundance and related receptor components were evaluated throughout in vitro maturation. Heat-induced increases in IL6 were first noted at 4 hours of in vitro maturation (hIVM); peak levels occurred at 4.67 versus 6.44 hIVM for 41.0 and 38.5°C COCs, respectively (SEM = 0.23; P < 0.001). Peak IL6ST levels occurred at 6.95 versus 8.29 hIVM for 41.0 and 38.5°C, respectively (SEM = 0.23; P < 0.01). Transcript for LIF differed over time (P < 0.0001) but was not affected by 41.0°C exposure. Blastocyst development after performing IVF was not affected by 41.0°C exposure for 4 or 6 h. When limiting analysis to when IL6 was temporally produced, progesterone levels were only impacted by time and temperature (no interaction). Heat-induced shift in the temporal production of IL6 and IL6ST along with its impact on progesterone likely cooperate in heat-induced hastening of meiotic progression described by others.