Genetic material donation has become an integral part of the management of infertility. Sperm, oocyte and pre-embryo donation are successful both medically and technically. The practice of genetic material donation raises ethical, legal, religious and social issues. The practice of pre-embryo donation raises several unique issues, such as the status of the pre-embryo and its well-being. Medical problems which need to be considered include selection of the donors, evaluation of the recipients and quality control of the genetic material. The relationship between the biological and social parents, and the safeguarding of the interests of the offspring, may be resolved by specific legislation pertaining to each country. Potential pre-embryo banks should be subjected to licensing and should not be run by a commercial system. By practicing pre-embryo donation, the medical profession and society should consider not only the interests of the infertile couple, but also the interests of the offspring.