The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of donor sex, treatments of cell cycle synchronization and donor nuclei obtained from fresh or frozen–thawed conditions on developmental competence of yak–bovine interspecies nuclear transfer embryos. Bovine (Bos taurus) oocytes were used as recipients and yak (Bos grunniens) ear fibroblast cells were used as donors. Results indicated that the development rate of male blastocysts was higher than that of female (56.6% versus 39.5%, P<0.05), whereas cleavage and total cell number showed no difference between the two groups. No significant difference was observed in the development and quality of blastocysts with donor cells treated by serum starvation or contact inhibition, and there was no significant difference in embryo development with fresh or frozen–thawed donor cells, whereas the cleavage rate in the group of frozen–thawed cells was significantly lower than that of the fresh cell group (54.5% versus 78.2%, P<0.05). The results demonstrated that donor sex could impact the developmental competence of yak–bovine interspecies nuclear transfer embryos, whereas different treatments of cell cycle synchronization and freezing had little influence.