There is no horror for parents like the thought of losing a child. It could turn even the smartest, most grounded Mom or Dad into a raving lunatic. I can even understand why Jerri and Rufus McGill spent the days while their teenage son Rufus Arthur McGill was in a coma fighting for the right to harvest his sperm. But I can't say I think it was right.
He's their son. Creating a new child that shares some of his DNA isn't going to dial them back to the days before he crashed his mom's car.
Rufus died this week at 19. His death ends his parents' legal battle. It's too late to collect their son's sperm.
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My heart goes out to them. But I hope that in a few weeks, after the funeral, after things start to settle down and they are left to ponder that hole left in their hearts that the McGills realize that collecting their son's sperm was not going to fix this tragedy.
Collecting a dying child's sperm or eggs before death is fairly new, but the McGills aren't the first to try it. I have a sad feeling they won't be the last. Like I said before, parents trying to come to terms with the early loss of a child are not generally rational. You can understand why.
However, reality has to set in at some point. There is no "replacing" a lost child. If there is, we need to rethink the value we put on human life overall. You may love a new baby, you may spend so much time caring for them that you have less time to focus on your loss, but this is not a case where one equals one.
Not to mention, these cases generally involve teenage children whose parents seem to think that their proximity to adulthood makes it obvious that it's somehow fitting to grant them post-mortem parenthood. As if that fulfills an older child lost too soon's point in being on this earth. What does that say about our kids? That we value them as vessels for grandchildren?
What do you think of parents harvesting a dead child's sperm or eggs? Is this something we should encourage?
Image via NatalieMaynor/Flickr