This study aimed to explore whether the presence of a Y chromosome azoospermia factor (AZF) microdeletion confers any adverse effect on embryonic development and clinical outcomes after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment. Fifty-seven patients with AZF microdeletion were included in the present study and 114 oligozoospermia and azoospermia patients without AZF microdeletion were recruited as controls. Both AZF and control groups were further divided into subgroups based upon the methods of semen collection: the AZF-testicular sperm extraction subgroup (AZF-TESE, n = 14), the AZF-ejaculation subgroup (AZF-EJA, n = 43), the control-TESE subgroup (n = 28) and the control-EJA subgroup (n = 86). Clinical data were analyzed in the two groups and four subgroups respectively. A retrospective case–control study was performed. A significantly lower fertilization rate (69.27 versus 75.70%, P = 0.000) and cleavage rate (89.55 versus 94.39%, P = 0.000) was found in AZF group compared with the control group. Furthermore, in AZF-TESE subgroup, the fertilization rate (67.54 versus 74.25%, P = 0.037) and cleavage rate (88.96 versus 94.79%, P = 0.022) were significantly lower than in the control-TESE subgroup; similarly, the fertilization rate (69.85 versus 75.85%, P = 0.004) and cleavage rate (89.36 versus 94.26%, P = 0.002) in AZF-EJA subgroup were significantly lower than in the control-EJA subgroup; however, the fertilization rate and cleavage rate in AZF-TESE (control-TESE) subgroup was similar to that in the AZF-EJA (control-EJA) subgroup. The other clinical outcomes were comparable between four subgroups (P > 0.05). Therefore, sperm from patients with AZF microdeletion, obtained either by ejaculation or TESE, may have lower fertilization and cleavage rates, but seem to have comparable clinical outcomes to those from patients without AZF microdeletion.