A Virginia teenager who was critically injured in a car accident last month died before his parents could harvest his sperm in an attempt to guarantee there would be another generation in the family.
Rufus Arthur McGill, 19, of Roanoke, Va. died on Thursday as a result of injuries suffered during an Oct. 14 car crash that killed one other person. McGill's parents had waged a legal battle to be allowed to collect his sperm for future grandchildren, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
His mother Jerri McGill told the Times-Dispatch she won't be able to harvest her son's sperm because getting a court order would take several days. Doctors told her there's only a 24 to 36 hour window to extract man's semen after death.
"I'm very saddened that I'm not going to have a piece of him with me," McGill said. "I do have a younger son that's 17 who always says he's never having kids. That might change, but I'm not guaranteed to have grandchildren from him because what if he meets a woman who is not fertile or, God forbid, what if he can't have children?"
WTVR reports that the parents were able to find a urologist to perform the procedure, but when they called lawyers about getting a court order, none was interested in taking the case.
Laurence McCullough, the associate director of medicine at the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Baylor College of Medicine, told Fox News in an email that the McGills did not have ethical legal standing to harvest their son's sperm.
"If his wishes regarding having children cannot be reliably identified, the matter is concluded and the parents' request should be refused," McCullough said. "There is very strong agreement in bioethics that one's reproductive rights include the right not to procreate."
Thomas Hafemeister, a University of Virginia law professor who researches bioethics, told the station McGill's parents would have had greater legal standing if their son was a minor.
McGill's obituary said he had attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and was "on his way to becoming a noted artist."
WDBJ reports that McGill was at the wheel when his mother's car, carrying five others, ran off the road and hit a tree.
Hannah Long, 15, was riding in the front set and was pronounced dead at the scene.