The parents of a West Point cadet who died in March — who say that he dreamed of becoming a father — can use his frozen sperm to create his child, a judge ruled. Cadet Peter Zhu, 21, was pronounced brain-dead on Feb. 27 after a skiing accident on the military academy’s campus in New York. He was kept alive until March 1 because he was an organ donor, and during those two days his parents decided to petition the state to allow them to retrieve his sperm before they removed his organs. The Zhus said in their initial court filing, according to the New York Times, that his dream was to own a ranch with horses and have five children, and this was their only way of making a portion of it come true after his death.
“Without obtaining sperm from Peter’s body, we will never be able to help Peter realize this dream of bringing a child into the world,” they said. “This is our one and only chance of fulfilling Peter’s wishes and preserving his incredible legacy.”
They also argued that they wanted to do this for “deeply personal cultural reasons,” as Peter is the only son born to the Zhu family and the one chance at carrying on their name.
“When Peter was born, his grandfather cried tears of joy that a son was born to carry on our family’s name,” the Zhus said. “Peter took this role very seriously, and fully intended to carry on our family’s lineage through children of his own.”
After Justice John P. Colangelo agreed to the parents’ petition, doctors at Westchester Medical Center extracted Peter’s sperm to freeze for later use.
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