April 18, 2009

"I want my son's sperm to live."

"For sperm to be viable, it must be harvested within 36 hours of death. When Supreme Court Justice Howard Sherman ruled, they had just four hours left....The race against time really began at 3:30 a.m. Thursday when [Johnny] Quintana, a seemingly healthy, 31-year-old concierge and auto mechanic, collapsed and died while watching an episode of NBC's 'The Chopping Block" on a computer with his brother. Through her tears, [his girlfriend Gisela] Marrero remembered their last talk about the future and immediately asked Jacobi [Medical Center] if it would be possible to remove and preserve Quintana's sperm. Under law, it takes a court order. So while Quintana's body was placed in a cooling room and an ice bag was placed on his testicles to preserve his potential progeny, Marrero set about preparing a funeral - and building a legal argument. Much of Thursday was spent frantically calling sperm banks, lawyers and arranging for an emergency hearing before Sherman...."


Bissage said...

If I were the judge, I’d rule that she can have the semen, but she’s got to get it out of him herself.

MadisonMan said...

Well, it seems odd to me, but who knows what I'd do if my kid died. Grief drives people in unexpected directions.

Pogo said...

I knew a kid who's dad died before he was born.

Hard to guess how someone would feel about a dad who died before conception.

This is the perfect example of how technology very often does not solve problems at all, but turns acute problems into chronic ones.

From this point on she'll be trying to fob off her son's splooge on various women. What a weird blind date that will be. Not even a dinner or any foolin' around, just the morning after.

campy said...

Who's going to pay the child support for any kids that this sperm make?

rhhardin said...

She's working the semiotics.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

I'm very sorry for her loss- I can't even fathom losing a child so young and suddenly like that, so I can't judge the mother for her actions. But it is not right to intentionally bring a child into the world with no father. It is not fair to the child. Others involved have a responsibility to tell her no.

Daryl said...

They have a problem with consent. If he had saved his sperm to a sperm bank while he was still alive, and expressly provided for this in the event of his death, the situation would be much clearer.

rhhardin said...

Maybe NYT sperm could be frozen and saved at backrupcy, and used when responsible management is found.

Some of the great grandfather DNA might still be good.

Jason (the commenter) said...

It's something I'd expect someone who was breeding dogs to do.

I don't expect anyone to agree with me, but I feel the woman is sick and disgusting and that she is desecrating the body and memory of her child.

How are the mothers of the grandchildren going to be chosen? Not by the son.

Imagine if your parents wanted you to marry someone who you hated. In fact, you loved someone else (who your parents hated) but you die before you can legally marry them. Now your parents have the right to take your eggs or sperm and give them to the person you hated.

Kind of sound like rape to me, but I guess that only applies if you have some respect for the dead.

George said...

my older son was killed six years ago-

he was 23 and married-

I sometimes wished I had talked to him about banking his sperm-

I do not know how his wife would have felt about it; I'm sure it would have been discussed between the two if he had considered it-

As someone who has lost a child, I have had some weird, disgusting, and sick thoughts; I have also acted out in ways that many would consider crazy or bizarre-

but there wouldn't be much I would not do to bring my son back-

PatCA said...

I'm so sorry, George.

I wonder why a family member has to get a court order?

Revenant said...

I second (third? fourth?) the opinion that this is inappropriate behavior. Children need a father. If the dad dies or leaves, that's one thing. But going into this from day one knowing there will be no father is just irresponsible.

EDH said...

I do think it is reasonable to require all those petitioning a court for such an order to sign a support affidavit, as is done with the sponsors of new immigrants.

traditionalguy said...

Maybe they are devout Mormans? Or is this the latest social darwinist attempt to be the surviver the firtest with the mostest? What wont they try next? Only God knows where this will take His human race.

Maxine Weiss said...

Either you have a Last Will and Testament, or you don't.

A 21-year-old kid utters some nonsense, and the Survivors are trying to enter that as an Oral Will...

No such thing as an Oral Will.

Talk to Terry Schiavo.

traditionalguy said...

Maxine... Each State has a Default Will for the intestate. It's called the Heirs at Law, and the results are not that bad unless there are children at the Date of Death, especially children from a prior marriage. And then for many large Estate 50%+ wealth Taxes are needlessly paid when the Networth exceeds 3 million and no properly drafted wills/trusts are in place. Thanks for the free advertising for the Attorneys, many of whom don't do divorce or medical malpractice, and therfore can be classed as innocent and valuable people.

Father Martin Fox said...

As good a time and place as any to plant the flag for boundaries erected by "natural law" rather than arbitrary exercises of human law.

The whole problem of embryonic stem cell research arises for similar reasons. "It's my right!" "I want, I want!" "What can it hurt?" Now we have "surplus" human life that will "go to waste" so why not "use" it for research?

To be clear: sperm is not a fertilized ovum. I know that; it's not the same; but it is on a continuum of issues, and we're kidding ourselves if with the way we're handling this. One resolution gives rise to new messes. Messes involving actual human lives.

Synova said...

"the judge gave the dead man's fiancée the green light to harvest her dead lover's sperm - and preserve his legacy for the future.

"The day before he passed away, we talked about planning for our future, buying an apartment and having another child," said Gisela Marrero, Quintana's fiancée and the mother of his 2-year-old son. "This was his wish. It's the last thing I can do for him."

Where does the mother come into this?

This is one of those things that I usually can't understand. Not that the fiance' would want to have his child, or that *he* might want his fiance' to have his child. But that people find it weird or wrong.

Are we that separated from our natural, biological selves? I view dying without reproduction a horrible tragedy. Sure, right, some people unfortunately can't, and others don't *want* to... but for those that can and do, dying not only is their own death but the death of all potential children and all legacy and the only sure immortality offered us.

I think of soldiers going off to war and I wonder... How many marry before they go? How many at least allow for conception? And how many refrain, how many are sure to do nothing to risk leaving a child to grow up without a father if they don't return?

My FIL was conceived before his father went to Europe in WW2 never to return. I simply can't imagine, no matter how sad not to have a father, that my FIL does not value the fact for himself that although his father never came home, that he himself remains. That his father did not die without issue.

In this case there is already a child growing up without a father. Sad. But are siblings worth nothing? I think that maybe, today, they seem to be. Who really worries about the unfairness of kids not getting to have brothers or sisters?

I suppose that where the mother came into this is that a fiance or girlfriend doesn't have legal rights.

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

Passing on one's sperm does not bring forth "immortality." Death at an early age surely is tragedy, but we cannot extract bodily fluids from those who have died in order to procreate and fill the empty place in our own lives. I have two words for everyone - LIVING. WILL.

Penny said...

What a crazy world we live in. Mothers are surrogates for their daughter's children. Will the day come when they will have their own son's child?

Synova said...

Certainly children are immortality!

What a silly thing to say that they are not. Of course they are. What else could they be? A personal indulgence? All about filling a void? A selfishness? No wonder parents are so terrified not to have their children as "friends."

Our world is so turned upside down.

Synova said...

"but we cannot extract bodily fluids from those who have died in order to procreate..."

Certainly we can.

"...and fill the empty place in our own lives."

An individual can never be replaced. Why assume that is the motivation? But children and grandchildren most certainly do fill an empty place for people. So it can't be that we "can't" do that. And if we thought some other thing would honor our dead loved one, wouldn't it be understandable to do it?

"I have two words for everyone - LIVING. WILL."

If someone has a Living Will, or a Will at all, does it suddenly become possible to harvest bodily fluids for procreation and fill voids in our lives? A Living Will solves legal issues... not ethical ones.

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

We do not live on vicariously through our children, and to infer that we do is ludicrous. Not even your DNA can do that.

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

"And if we thought some other thing would honor our dead loved one, wouldn't it be understandable to do it?"

Um, that answer would be "no."

Synova said...

How do our genes not live in our children, our progeny. That's what the word means and it's biologically factual besides.

Please explain.

Attitudes about things change over time, but facts remain. Just *now* in time we devalue children as anything other than expensive pets. Indulgences that we're supposed to feel guilty about. Expect children to contribute to the family and people will scowl at you because it's not "right" for children to contribute to family in a financial meaningful way. What would people a few generations ago think of us for disenfranchising our offspring like that? Would they tut and murmur that it's obvious why our offspring feel isolated and unconnected?

In so very many ways we convince ourselves that children are better off never born if they are not born in perfect circumstances. We refuse to admit such quaint things as "virility" as something inherently attractive because we've convinced ourselves that no one should connect sex to reproduction or reproduction to essential power.

We are a very odd generation.

blake said...

Something must be wrong with me.

I feel strangely unequipped to offer an opinion.

My Internet privileges are going to be revoked.

kentuckyliz said...

I guess I've been brainwashed by the feminists to believe that I own my body.

Why doesn't this guy own his body?

Unless he left specific legal documents directing this action to happen, no way.

It is rape.

Synova: thanks to your gramma in law for doing her bit for the war effort.

If the court allows it, then the stipulation should be: the semen must be donated to a sperm bank.

So if you think he must live on, fine, but since his intention is not legally expressed in a binding way, you (gf and mom) don't ever get to meet those children.

Solomon and the baby and the two women.

Why should the court treat the gf with any more respect than the dead guy did? She had his baby and he didn't marry her. The court should understand that as part of his intention. He wasn't committed to her.

Besides, from a darwinist biological standpoint, he's a weak specimen if he died suddenly so young for no apparent reason. His weak genes shouldn't be perpetuated. What if his children are destined to die young the same way? That's cruel.

kentuckyliz said...

Did you noticed that the newspaper headline referred to the babymomma as his "wife" and the second paragraph in, it referred to her as his "fiancee"? Wow. Sloppy journalism about a material fact--were they married or not?

Men, you should be up in arms. Just think: in most states, all natural children have a claim to a proportionate share of a parent's estate. Just think, you could have a will, and no kids, and a gf that pretends to be a fiancee who had a conversation with you about planning to have children together...and she goes to court to get knocked up to lay claim on your estate. (Her child will.)


amba said...

A close friend of mine died in a car accident in his mid-40s. (Unnecessarily; he was being breezy-macho and not wearing his seatbelt, running an errand without his girlfriend on a cold winter night in PA. He was a veterinarian. He swerved to miss a deer that leaped out of the woods, and hit a light pole. The cops said if he'd had his belt on he could have chosen whether to walk or drive away.) He was in a coma for 10 days and his girlfriend, to whom he was engaged to be married, begged to be allowed to have some of his sperm so she could have his child. She was refused -- I don't know by whom, doctors, his mother? Probably not being married yet was the deal-breaker.

amba said...


Your observations remind me of one of mine: that it's ironic and paradoxical that the very people who don't believe in Darwinian natural selection (religious conservatives) are the ones who behave in the most Darwinianly-fit way (preserving marriages and having lots of children).

Is that a Möbius strip or what?