Parents Of Deceased 21-Year-Old Allowed To Keep His Sperm To Carry On Their Family Name
Peter Zhu, a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy in New York, passed away after falling down while skiing on 23 February
He was declared brain-dead four days after falling on the slopes of the academy.
"The entire West Point community is heartbroken over this tragedy. Peter was one of the top cadets in the Class of 2019, very well-known and a friend to all," said Brigadier General Steve Gilland, according to NextShark.
Before he succumbed to his injuries, Peter's family made an appeal to the state court on 1 March to preserve his sperm as it was his "dying wish to become a father"
"When Peter was alive, he often told us how he wanted children of his own one day, and that he wanted to give us grandchildren," his parents Yongmin and Monica Zhu said in the court appeal, USA Today reported.
"Peter was the love of our lives. We are desperate to have a small piece of Peter that might live on and continue to spread the joy and happiness that Peter brought to all of our lives," they added.
The 21-year-old had told his parents that he wanted to have five children, despite their warnings that a large family would be more expensive.
According to the couple, it was also important to carry on Peter's legacy "for deeply personal cultural reasons" as he was the only male child in the family
"Our family comes from China and an extremely important part of our Chinese culture is the tradition of carrying on our family lineage," Peter's parents explained.
"Without obtaining genetic material from Peter's body, it will be impossible to carry on our family's lineage, and our family name will die," they said.
They appealed to the New York court to preserve his sperm before their son's organs are harvested.
Hours after appealing, Justice John P. Colangelo directed Westchester Medical Centre, where Peter was on life support, to retrieve the sperm and store it
The doctors were reportedly hesitant to retrieve Peter's sperm until the court order was granted "because the hospital has never conducted a procedure like this before under these circumstances," The New York Times reported.
On Sunday, the family's lawyer Joseph Williams told Journal News that the result was "bittersweet".
According to court records, another hearing was scheduled for 21 March to discuss the next steps.