LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- Those at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Lakewood are at a loss as to how to help a Highlands Ranch woman who is racing the clock to save a family she and her late boyfriend had been dreaming about and making plans for.
A spokesperson for the hospital said they don’t have the equipment necessary to extract and preserve Tom Alexander’s sperm at the request of his girlfriend Kate Criswell.
Alexander died in the early morning hours Sunday after complications following heart surgery.
Alexander fell ill while the two of them were hiking last week, Criswell said.
“He was just so loving and caring and showed that to me every day,” she said.
Alexander didn’t have medical paperwork in place dictating what his wishes were post mortem and Kate can’t legally serve as his power of attorney because the two weren’t married, her attorney Judith Hoechst said.
While nobody can make decisions for medical procedures on Alexander, Hoechst believes because Alexander is an organ donor, that shouldn’t matter.
“The fact that her fiancé had registered to be an organ donor in Colorado I think favors her wish,” Hoechst said.
The race against the clock is tough for Criswell because experts say that sperm viability only lasts 24-48 hours after death.
Criswell said she found a urologist to perform the extraction, but nobody has a way to preserve the sperm so it can be transferred to a cryogenic bank in California.
The situation is one that Centennial’s Amanda Garvin can relate to.
Her husband died suddenly following a motorcycle accident 12 years ago and she was forced to fight a similar battle.
Her son, now 12, is her belief that legislation should be in place to allow surviving loved ones this opportunity.
“It's not replacing, it's not bringing that person back because I had a lot of backlash towards me, but it's not about any of that, it's about bringing out life and there are so many kids that are unwanted and when children are like this and they are wanted, I think they should do it,” Garvin said.
The Arapahoe County Coroner’s office said the body will be transferred there for autopsy.
The Coroner told Denver7 if Criswell can find someone to successfully do the procedure there, they won’t stand in the way.
If Criswell is unable to retrieve any sperm from Alexander, she will take up the fight with state lawmakers, so this doesn’t happen to anyone else, Criswell said.