WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A West Point cadet’s family is “begging” for a court order to direct Westchester Medical Center to perform a procedure the hospital has never done before: Extracting his sperm before he’s removed from life support.
Peter Zhu’s family said in New York State Supreme Court papers filed Friday that preserving their son’s sperm would give them hope of preserving the family name, in keeping with Chinese tradition.
Zhu was declared brain dead four days after a skiing accident on the West Point ski slope on Feb. 23, but remains on life support at Westchester Medical Center because he’s an organ donor.
The 21-year-old’s family wants to preserve his sperm for cultural reasons, but it’s a procedure that the hospital is hesitant to do without a court order, according to an appeal to the state court.
“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 said in the court appeal. “It is also important to carry on Peter’s legacy for deeply personal cultural reasons as well.
“Our family comes from China and an extremely important part of our Chinese culture is the tradition of carrying on our family lineage,” the family said, and Zhu is the only male in the family.
“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,” the family said in court documents.
But time is running out.
“We need a (court) order immediately so that we do not miss the small window of opportunity we have to obtain this genetic material in order to preserve the possibility of carrying on Peter’s lineage,” the California family said in court documents. “On the other hand, if this procedure is not conducted, the chance of obtaining this material will be gone forever and will will be left with no possible recourse.”
The organ removal surgery was scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday, but the procedure to preserve his reproductive genetic material needed to be done before.
The Zhus’ attorneys weren’t immediately available to comment.