Personal Note: The case of Peter Zhu is expected since he was the only son of the Zhus…because of his sudden death, his parents are confronted with how to carry on the family line…the only way is to preserve his sperm for later use…because the son had expressed a strong desire to have a family and to have a big family. It is very possible this is more of the desire of the parents who want to make sure there is a family line despite the sudden death of their only son. How to carry on the family line? To retrieve the sperm of their son, before he die. A sad story but it is understandable if you are Chinese in the world. Only the male will carry on the family line. Steve, usa, march 7, 2019 firstname.lastname@example.org blog – https://getting2knowyou-china.com
Parents of Peter Zhu, dead West Point cadet, can keep his sperm to continue family name in accordance with Chinese tradition
• Peter Zhu was declared brain-dead days after a skiing accident and his family raced against time to get a rare procedure performed to ‘preserve his legacy’
• He was the only child in his family
The Washington Post
6 Mar, 2019
Peter Zhu’s parents said their son always wanted to be a father.
The 21-year-old from Concord, California, dreamed of having five children, unswayed by his parents’ warnings that raising a large family would be expensive, Yongmin and Monica Zhu wrote in a court petition filed on Friday in Westchester County, New York. The vision they said Peter had for his future was living on a ranch with his family and caring for horses.
But the promising Chinese-American cadet, a senior at the United States Military Academy at West Point, fractured his spinal cord, depriving his brain of oxygen, while skiing on February 23. A few days later he was declared brain-dead.
Now, his parents say they only have one chance of “fulfilling Peter’s wishes and preserving his incredible legacy” – by retrieving their only child’s
and saving it.
“Peter’s death was a horrific, tragic and sudden nightmare that neither of us could have prepared for,” his parents wrote, seeking a court’s permission to obtain their son’s sperm. “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.”
Just hours later, a judge directed Westchester Medical Centre in Valhalla, New York, where Peter was on life support, to retrieve the sperm and store it.
Another hearing has been scheduled for March 21 to discuss the next steps, according to court records.
In an email to the Journal News on Sunday, the family’s lawyer, Joseph Williams, described the result as “bittersweet,” but declined to comment further citing the pending case.
The cadet’s fatal injury came during an excursion to the Victor Constant Ski Area near the prestigious military academy. The Zhus said their son was involved in “a very bad accident”.
After rescuers performed CPR, Peter was taken to hospital before being airlifted to Westchester Medical Centre.
Peter’s condition, however, only worsened and on Wednesday afternoon, his parents received the news that he was brain-dead.
“Our entire world collapsed around us,” the Zhus said in their petition. “We cannot even begin to put into words the pain we felt, and continue to feel, seeing our son lying lifeless in his hospital bed.”
They added: “Peter was the love of our lives. He was brought us more joy, pride and happiness than words can say.”
According to the Journal News, Peter excelled at the academy and was described by superiors as “one of the top cadets” in his class.
“We lost a brother today and the pain will be felt for a long time,” Lieutenant General Darryl Williams, the academy’s superintendent, told the Army Times.
With the hope of possibly “preserving some piece of our child that might live on”, the filing said the Zhus asked medical professionals at Westchester about a procedure they had never done before: postmortem sperm retrieval.
He often told us how he wanted children of his own one day and that he wanted to give us grandchildrenThe Zhus’ court filing
Since it was first performed about 40 years ago by Cappy Rothman, a Los Angeles-based urologist, the unusual practice has prompted many to question its ethical implications, The New York Times reported in 2004.
“Is it appropriate to consciously bring a child into this world with a dead father?” Alexander Capron, a professor of law and medicine and co-director of the Pacific Centre for Health Policy and Ethics at the University of Southern California, told Associated Press in 1999.
“That year, a woman made history in the US when she gave birth to a child using sperm extracted from her dead husband, AP said at the time.
“Would we want, at the moment that a death occurs, to have doctors asking: ‘Do we harvest eggs? Do we harvest sperm?’” Capron asked. “This is not for the betterment of the human condition.”
Other studies tried to answer equally challenging questions, chief among them: how can you make sure the wishes of the deceased are being respected?
Falling sperm counts in China may hurt effort to boost birth rate, statistics suggest
The Zhus laid out their son’s detailed plan for fatherhood in the petition.
“He often told us how he wanted children of his own one day and that he wanted to give us grandchildren,” the filing said, going on to describe the young man’s desire for five children. “There was never any question or doubt that Peter intended to become a father.”
But beyond his personal desire for a big family, the couple said their son’s legacy also needed to be preserved “for deeply cultural reasons”.
Peter was the sole male child in his family and in Chinese culture, only sons can pass down a family name, his parents wrote.
“When Peter was born, his grandfather cried tears of joy that a son was born to carry on our family’s name,” they said. “Peter took this role very seriously, and fully intended to carry on our family’s lineage through children of his own.”
Without Peter’s children, his parents wrote that it would be “impossible” for the Zhu lineage to continue and the “family name will die”.
On Friday, the Zhus insisted retrieving the sperm needed to happen before 3pm when their son, an organ donor, was expected to undergo an organ removal procedure. The doctors told them retrieval would not be possible after Peter’s organs were removed.
According to the documents, the hospital had a urologist who was “ready and willing” to perform the procedure so long as they obtained a court order.
It is not yet clear how the Zhus plan to use Peter’s sperm. In 2009, a Texas woman whose son died after being injured in a bar fight got permission to retrieve his sperm and planned to hire a surrogate, AP reported.
Now they have the sperm, the Zhus may be one step closer to helping their son achieve his dream.
“Our son’s dying wish was to become a father and to bring children into this world,” they said in the filing.
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Parents of dead West Point cadet can get his sperm