United States Military Academy Cadet Peter Zhu, 21, was found unresponsive on a ski slope at the Victor Constant Ski Area within the academy grounds on Feb. 23.
Zhu, who sustained multiple injuries, including a fractured spine, was declared brain dead in the hospital four days later.
His parents, Monica and Yongmin Zhu, made an appeal to the state court requesting to preserve his sperm for “the possibility of preserving some piece of our child that might live on.”
“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,” the 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. 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.”
On Friday, the parents rushed to seek permission from a state court judge to retrieve his sperm before his organs were removed for donation at Westchester Medical Center that day, Associated Press reports.
They noted that the procedure, if permitted, must be done that day.
“We are desperate to have a small piece of Peter that might live on and continue to spread the joy and happiness that Peter bought to all of our lives,” the parents wrote in their filing.
On the same day, the judge reportedly gave instructions to retrieve the sperm, ordering the medical center to have it stored until a court hearing set on March 21.
Whether the parents will be granted possession of the sperm remains pending until the court makes its decision later this month.
A president of the Cadet Medical Society, Zhu was planning to attend medical school at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences.
In a touching tribute, the class of 19 remembers Zhu as an outstanding cade, who is “the model friend, student, leader, and scholar, a person of the highest moral integrity and personal character.”