In her mind, she told me, there was one overwhelming thought: She wanted—she needed—Nik’s sperm.

Outside the hospital, at the picnic table, she acknowledged how crazy the idea likely sounded. She said they could get an egg donor and a surrogate. No one said anything at first. They stared at her.

She went on. She told them how the last time she’d seen him, a little more than two weeks ago, he’d spoken again of his longing for children; she reminded them that they’d all had similar conversations with him. They’d decided to donate his organs anyway; why not take something from him that would otherwise go to waste? She spoke of making “Nikki’s dream come true.”