Oxidative stress in spermatozoa has effects on subsequent embryo development. The aim of the present study was to elucidate whether sperm oxidative stress results in increased DNA damage in the embryo. To this end, bovine spermatozoa were incubated for 1 h at 37°C without or with 100 µM H2O2, resulting in non-oxidised (NOX-S) and oxidised (OX-S) spermatozoa respectively. Non-incubated spermatozoa served as the control group (CON-S). After IVF, developmental rates 30, 46 and 60 h and 7 days after IVF were assessed. DNA damage was analysed in embryos using the comet assay and a DNA damage marker (γH2AX immunostaining); the apoptotic index was determined in blastocysts. Exposure of spermatozoa to H2O2 induced a significant amount of sperm chromatin damage. The use of OX-S in IVF resulted in significantly reduced cleavage and blastocyst rates compared with the use of CON-S and NOX-S. Furthermore, in embryos resulting from the use of OX-S, a developmental delay was evident 30 and 46 h after IVF. γH2AX immunostaining was lower in blastocysts than in early embryos. In blastocysts, the comet and apoptotic indices were significantly higher in embryos resulting from the use of OX-S than CON-S and NOX-S. In conclusion, oxidative stress in spermatozoa induces developmental abnormalities and is a source of DNA damage in the resulting embryos.