The new Bachelorette contestants have been announced! And along with a Belieber, a globally-ranked Guitar Hero champion, and a self-proclaimed “admirer of Kris Jenner,” one contestant has caught the internet’s eye: a sperm donour who has created 114 children. (Yes, there are a 114 children living right now from this contestant's donated sperm.)
Twenty-five-year-old Matteo Valles grew up all over the world. Now, he lives in Atlanta and is launching a small virtual reality startup, but dreams of becoming a firefighter. His number-one bucket list item is to take someone to a ball in a castle. He once chugged a gallon of milk in 10 seconds. And, oh yeah, he's a "sperm donour who has helped create 114 children for all types of families," according to his bio on ABC's site.
In the United States, there are no laws regulating sperm donation — but some organizations have offered guidelines. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine suggests that donours be limited to no more than 25 births in a population of 800,000 in order to “avoid an increased risk of inadvertent consanguineous conception” (meaning genetic siblings unknowingly meeting, having sex, and conceiving a child — yikes). Some individual sperm banks impose lower limits. For example, the Sperm Bank of California limits donours to ten families worldwide (though this may mean more than ten children, if one family uses the same donour to conceive multiple children).
“They would usually not allow more than a certain number in a specific geographical location,” Dr. Ghadir says. “If a donour has achieved over 100 children, this could be that the sperm is being shipped around the world” — which is something that certain cryobanks do. “A hundred children around the entire world is not that much,” Dr. Ghadir adds.
There have been a few other stories of donours who have provided genetic material to even more children than Matteo has. Last year, the Guardian profiled a Dutch donour whose sperm had created more than 150 children over a period of 20 years. In 2011, the New York Times wrote about a donour whose sperm had created a similar number of children. And in 2016, 41-year-old donour Simon Watson told the BBC he his sperm had made "about 800" kids — and he was aiming for 1,000.
Sperm donation might sound lucrative — healthy donours can make up to $1,500 USD per month — but Dr. Ghadir says it's not a decision to take lightly. “I think people really need to thoroughly think about what it means to them and their thoughts for the future, before doing something like that,” he says. “I’s just not one of those things you do thoughtlessly.”