A 25-year-old management consultant from Atlanta named Matteo admitted he was an especially active sperm donor, which is raising questions galore.  

By Maressa Brown
May 13, 2019
matteo bachelorette
Credit: Ed Herrera/ABC

May 13, 2019

Every year, fans of ABC's The Bachelorette hope for a season filled with jaw-dropping controversies and eyebrow-raising characters. Season 15, featuring Bachelorette Hannah Brown, may be premiering tonight, but one contestant has already been making headlines. Matteo, a 25-year-old management consultant from Atlanta, is getting tongues wagging for having been a very active sperm donor. He was so active, in fact, that his bio on the ABC website says he has fathered 114 kids

Over the past few days, buzz about Matteo's past reached such a fever pitch that the reality show suitor took to his personal Instagram account to address the issue. He said he's not ashamed. On the contrary, he is "proud of the people that I was able to help," he noted in the clip. "I think more people struggle with this problem than we maybe realize. Whatever those reasons are for families turning to sperm donation, I'm happy I was able to help them create that family that they've always wanted."

This is sure to be a season talking point for as long as Matteo remains on the show—which, admittedly, could be just one night, if Hannah considers his donation history a dealbreaker. But it's also spurring chatter about just how common and lucrative sperm donation is. Research out of Stanford University points out that anywhere from 50 to 90% of all sperm donors are college students, and according to The New York Times, payment varies, but an active donor who donates twice a week could potentially make $1,500 a month. So, that would certainly explain the incentive for many cash-strapped, college loan-owing donors. 

Matteo's confession has also raised questions of whether or not sperm donation should be regulated in the U.S. The Atlantic points out that countries such as the U.K., Germany, and the Netherlands limit how many children a single donor can have, the U.S. only has voluntary guidelines from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, a professional group for fertility specialists.

ASRM’s president, Peter Schlegel, told the publication that "it's concerning to have single donors used too much," and he believes over 100 is absolutely too many. ASMR guidelines recommend no more than 25 births per sperm donor in a population of 800,000 people, to prevent accidental incest. According to The Atlantic, the U.S. may not have regulations, but several major sperm banks have begun setting limits themselves. 

Unfortunately, there isn't much in the way of accurate record-keeping when it comes to sperm donation. There's no one central organization that tracks how many babies are conceived and born via sperm donation. So, it's hard to know exactly how many kids any one donor—including Matteo—may have fathered. The Atlantic points out that because the contestant is only 25, any of his biological children would be too young to take DNA tests, and he doesn't appear to be in the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR), which is a 19-year-old site created to help donors and donor-conceived people connect.

ABC has yet to comment on any of these findings, and it'll be interesting to see how Hannah and Matteo's fellow contestants react to his experience. No matter how it plays out, the possible dad of 114 said he hopes his admission "starts a healthy conversation around the topic and the creation of non-traditional families." It seems he has already gotten his wish.