A grief-stricken woman whose 31-year-old fiancé died suddenly pulled off a race against the clock through a Bronx court and hospital yesterday to save her lover’s sperm for a second child.
Gisela Marrero, 32, needed a judge’s order by 4 p.m. or the sperm of her beloved boyfriend, Johnny Quintana, 31, would be useless, said her lawyer, Nelson Stern.
Bronx State Supreme Court Judge Howard Sherman quickly granted the petition — which had to be signed by Marrero and Quintana’s parents — and the sperm was extracted with just three hours to spare.
“Oh, my God, he would be so pleased,” Marrero said. “This is definitely what he would have wanted.” Quintana, who worked for 10 years as a concierge on the Upper West Side, died after suffering an apparent heart attack at home at 4 a.m. Thursday.
“He was watching videos with his brother and he just collapsed,” Marrero said.
Marrero, who has a 2-year-old son, Lucas, with Quintana, said they had wanted more children. But since they hadn’t tied the knot yet, she needed the consent of his parents, Johnny Quintana and Carmen Moreno, to save his sperm.
The parents readily agreed, but there was a new hurdle. Jacobi Hospital, where Quintana’s body was taken, said she needed a court order — and fast. Doctors say sperm deteriorates quickly after death — but there have been reports of viable specimens being retrieved up to 36 hours later. As soon as Bronx Administrative Judge Barry Salman heard of the case, he assigned it to Sherman for a quick hearing.
Marrero was in tears during her brief testimony.
“Time is of the essence,” her court petition said. The sperm “must be harvested and frozen” within hours of his death “or it will be useless.” Sherman quickly signed the order, and the family rushed a certified copy to the hospital, where the procedure began at 12:30 p.m.
Marrero will have to wait until next week to know if the sperm was obtained in time.
“They [doctors] don’t expect a problem but they won’t know until Tuesday,” said Liss .
Is this a good thing? It would be interesting to know that your father was dead when you were conceived. How would you feel about that?