Preheating and other particle production phenomena in the early Universe can give rise to high-
energy out-of-equilibrium fermions with an anisotropic stress. We develop a formalism to calculate
the spectrum of gravitational waves due to fermions, and apply it to a variety of scenarios after
inflation. We pay particular attention to regularization issues. We show that fermion production
sources a stochastic background of gravitational waves with a significant amplitude, but we find
that typical frequencies of this new background are not within the presently accessible direct detec-
tion range. However, small-coupling scenarios might still produce a signal observable by planned
detectors, and thus open a new window into the physics of the very early Universe.