I Want to Have a Baby, but the VA Won’t Pay

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In my opinion, from the day you sign up for the military to the day you get out, you are the military’s responsibility and if something happens to you because of the military, it’s their responsibility to fix it. But that isn’t always the case.

In March of 2011 my husband was injured while deployed with the 101st Airborne Division to Afghanistan. He stepped on an IED and immediately lost both his legs.

But that wasn’t all. He suffered other major injuries – including one to his groin, which left him with only one viable testicle.

We were both very young and dreamed of starting a family, so this was a huge concern to us. I asked the military over and over again for testing to be done to ensure we would be able to have children and I was told time and time again we could.

Still, I had an unsettled feeling about the whole situation. A few months before my husband was set to retire, I demanded further testing. A visit to the urology clinic for a semen analysis revealed the result I feared most: we would never be able to have our own children.

I was filled with emotions; disappointment, anger, and complete devastation. I wondered if they had just done these tests 18 months ago when we asked, could we have done something? Since we’ll never know the answer to that, we knew we just needed to look at another viable option: in vitro fertilization.

As we were told about this a few things really stuck. Both the waiting list, which can be over a year long, and the criteria requiring candidates to meet very specific age, weight, exercise, eating and vitamin rules were surprising and disappointing.

But the most shocking thing was this: Veterans Affairs does not cover the cost of in vitro fertilization. The procedure can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000, and that is per session. If you don’t successfully get pregnant, you pay that over and over again until you do.

When I learned the VA doesn’t cover this I was completely shocked. The military paid for my husband’s prosthetic legs, wheelchair, hospital stays, and everything else — but they can’t pay to help us have a child? Were it not for his injury we likely would be able to.  But they are not willing to fix – or at least help us find a solution around – this.

We are not the only ones in this situation; there are thousands of soldiers who sustained groin injuries due to combat. There needs to be a law passed that allows the military to cover in vitro fertilization and any fertility testing for soldiers who received groin injuries due to combat. It is absolutely wrong that there isn’t already. It would mean the world of difference to so many people, including my family. To rip the dream of having a family away from thousands of servicemembers is wrong.

I can only think of positive reasons is to why the military should cover in vitro fertilization and fertility treatments for servicemembers who suffered a groin injury in combat. It shouldn’t be a debate. It should be a law.

Editor’s note: A bill has been introduced to the Senate by Sen. Patty Murray, chairwoman of the Veteran’s Affairs committee. You can let your voice be heard by going here and writing a letter to your Congressional representatives. When searching for your representatives remember to use the address in the state in which you vote, not the address where you currently live.

Megan Zimmerman is the spouse of a medically retired Soldier who was injured in Afghanistan in 2011.

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81 Comments on "I Want to Have a Baby, but the VA Won’t Pay"

  1. AMEN. We should – while we're at – have the ability to freeze our spouse's sperm AT OUR OWN HOSPITALS during deployments. Instead, we spend hundreds of dollars driving to far-away cities to have it done. The military should focus its health care on a Whole Life policy far more than it does.

    I'm so sorry for your troubles, Megan.

  2. I agree. It's totally absurd that so many who sacrifice so much are not given the opportunity to have children because the VA won't pay for in vitro. The government puts so much of their money towards taking life (like abortions) instead of giving life. So pathetic!

  3. I can agree with Rquick & guest, although I hate to say it. But I'm wondering if it would be possible for somebody to start a non-profit to do exactly that: to help cover the cost of fertility treatments, adoption, etc., for servicemembers & their families who are unable to have children due to combat-related problems. I can think of lots of people who would be willing to donate to something like that.

  4. I have mixed feelings on this. Tricare does not cover Invitro. They also do not cover chiropractic services and foot orthotics yet these services are covered for Only Active Duty Military because injures are sustained while on duty. So is it the military’s reaponsibilty to ensure you have a child? No.. Yet It is the responsibility of the Military to provide care for injuries you sustained on active duty? I believe personaly Yes. It is a Double edged sword. As a healthcare worker marred to a military man for over 22 years I have seen variouse coverage for medical services in regards to Medicaid. I DO feel If the Government igoing to contribute federal money to state Medicaid programs which in many states pay for infertility treatments, chiropractic services, foot orthotics, tummy tucks, breast lifts, airfare, taxi, and food expenses for the person on medicaid and a traveling companion, then why shouldn’t the Government pay for Military and their family members to receive the same servies. We deserve nothing less.

  5. I am also *kind of* torn on this. I think it majorly sucks in a lot of ways for people who want kids. However, it is not medically necessary to live with kids. My other thought is this: How do you know 100% that you would have been able to have kids prior to the injury? Millions of families struggle everyday with infertility and they have "normal" reproductive systems and have never been to war. So I guess you don't really know for sure if you would have had kids anyway. It sounds like the VA is paying for a lot of expensive medical equipment and services and I choose to believe that you are greatful for that. My heart goes out to people who want kids and can't have them but I don't think the VA should pay for this.

  6. Here's an idea. There are a lot of orphans in the US and other countries that would love to have parents. Try that route instead of using a procedure that may not work and cost the government $15K.

  7. This is not so much about Megan Zimmerman's circumstances but the VA as a whole. We are coddled and repaired with no expense spared while in service. Afterwards, the No deposit, no return mentality kicks in. The government is long on promises but AWOL when called to task. IVF is the tip of the iceberg of a plethora of problems. The nonadversarial system is good on paper and gets Sen. Sneakers elected again and again. In reality, its a hollow promise as all VA regulations are. I see this with lots of Vets who need liver transplants or outside treatment unavailable at VAMCs. Mrs. Zimmerman is discovering the hollow promise we all do when we try to cash in our chips. Read about it at http://asknod.wordpress.com/ . Its not some new phenomenon. They've been doing it since the War of 1812. Waging war is easy. The problem is nobody wants to clean up after the party. The repair order would obviously be to set aside sufficient assets to cover the collateral damage before starting. That might curb Congress' enthusiasm for the endeavor.

  8. Oh Please – you think the government has money to waste on your husbands' sperms???? People are suffering. How about you go adopt a child since you want one so badly. Your husband chose to join the military no one forced him – you should have thought about freezing his sperm before he deployed. What about those women whose spouses died in combat before they even had a child – Im sure you don't hear them asking the military to provide them with a child.

    Suck it up- You want a child so bad – stop adding to the already over populated population and go help a less fortunate family

  9. The government won't pay for IVF (which I agree, it should not, sorry Meagan) and yet a court in MA has ordered the state to pay for the sex change operation of an inmate in for life on murder charges.

  10. You can get almost free plastic surgery from the mlitary if you're in the right location and willing to get on a waitlist. Most people don't NEED boob jobs but tax payers are paying for those so why shouldn't they pay for IVF so that injured soldiers can have children?

  11. I can understand
    How frustrating it is, and sad this situation is. But this is a volunteer military, these men and women volunteer to become GI soldiers and know at any given time can and will be deployed to war. That is their job, and a very brave one at that! However, it is not the governments responsibility to cover anything or everything for these
    Soldiers. At the end of the day, joining the military should not be for pay, college or health care. It’s about protecting your country. My husband is in the Army And I have dealt with all kinds of frustrations by the army and Tri care, but he signed up for this during two wars, and I married him knowing the risk.

  12. I have a frien going through this, she.cant gey pregnant so they are doing ivf. I also heard that they will do one round of ivf for you but there is a waitlist

  13. Why should VA pay for a couple to have a kid? The government supported during and after the war and when he was injured. Why should anyone have to support you because you can’t have children? That was your choice to not have children previously and now that it’s not as easy you want someone to pave the way for you. I support veterans – healthy and disabled – but the government should not have to foot all of medical expenses starting with invitro until the baby is born.

  14. The Department of Defense has four facilities that provide infertility treatment, including IVF. These facilities are Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, and Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu. To participate in the program the patient must be Tricare eligible, and be referred by their regular health care provider to one of these medical centers’ gynecology clinics (these facilities do have waiting lists). Patients must pay for their own travel, lodging, medications, and embryologist and IVF coordinator fees. These expenses typically total between $2,500 and $3,650 ($2,700 to $5,600 when medication is included). Compared to the cost at most civilian facilities, which average around $15,000 per IVF cycle, this is a significant savings.

  15. I understand both sides of the story but I am leaning more towards the side that says the VA should not be responsible. With the way our country's financial standing is right now I cannot even fathom them setting a precedent that the VA or any Federal/State funded health insurance would pay for a treatment such as IVF.
    Yes, your husband was injured serving our country. But like other people have said, it was voluntary and it was you're choice (knowingly or unknowingly) to not have a child before he deployed. You're husband knew going into theater that it was a possibility that he would come home injured or even worse dead. You should count yourself lucky that your husband came back to you alive and be happy with that. Many couples can't have kids and it's not due to any type of injury. As hard as it is to grasp that you may never have kids through the natural process maybe there is a child out there already who could have a better life with you and your husband as its parents.

  16. Walter Reed used to have an IVF program, and I think it may have moved to Bethesda-National Naval Medical Center, in 2010. It’s considerably cheaper than other programs and only for military/vets. Also, if you did do IVF, consider that a considerable part of the cost is tax deductible. It might be worth seeing a tax planner, because the effective cost is reduced by thousands if you plan right.

  17. I have poly-cystic ovary syndrome. It is very hard for me to get pregnant to begin with. We have been dealing with our fertility clinic for almost 4 years now. I just recently became pregnant due to the hormone injections. All were paid for via Tricare. In vitro is beyond expensive and on top of that, there is no real guarantee. The author acts like there isn’t any other options for them. HELLO??!!! What about adoption? Military will help with that. There are so many kids and babies being born every minute of every day into a situation that could be made better by a loving and providing parents. I was adopted. I was born in S. Korea and became an American citizen when I was 2. I was given a better life because my birth mother wanted better for me than she could provide. God, sometimes I want to smack some of these authors and their selfishness.

  18. There are many children in the world in need of adoption. If you can’t have you’re own, adopt one.

  19. SHIRLEY MARTIN | September 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm |

    CONCERNING THE YOUNG COUPLE WHO WANTED A CHILD. HE STEPPED ON AN IED WHICH DAMAGED HIM TESTICLE WISE. IT COST TOO MUCH MONEY FOR INVITRO FERTILIZATION. THIS IS ONLY MY OPINION: WHEN A SERVICEMAN GETS ORDERS TO GO INTO A COMBAT ZONE, THEN HE SHOULD HAVE HIS SPERM SAVED (FROZEN) JUST IN CASE HE DOESN'T MAKE IT BACK. THIS SHOULD BE MANDATORY FOR COUPLES WITHOUT CHILDREN ESPECIALLY. PLEASE, ITS JUST A THOUGHT. MY LATE HUSBAND RETIRED FROM AIR FORCE. THANKS SHIRLEY.

  20. I do not feel the need for the va to cover the ivf. I mean it is a sad situation but that is a lot of money. 15k for a kid!!! No way. If they wouldn’t pay for a breast reduction for me because I have extreme back pain which is medically necessary. There are a lot of kids that need parents. Adopt!!!!

  21. Walter Reed used to have an IVF program for military/vets. It was operating as of 2010 but might have moved over to National Naval Med Center at Bethesda. It’s much cheaper than private programs. Worth looking into. Good luck!

  22. I understand the frustration even though my husband was not injured I am unable to have children, because at 29 I had to have a hysterectomy I wanted a small family and it breaks my heart but I have done research and a wonderful thing that the military does offer is if you adopt a child they will reimburse some of your expenses… That is a wonderful blessing I am hoping that soon my husband and I will be able to start the adoption process and bring a beautiful baby into our family… I know its not like having your own I have fought with this for a couple years now but the military does offer a great opportunity if wanting to adopt…

  23. The military does help with adoptions. Just because you can’t have a biological child you can still have a family. Look into adopting a child and giving a child a home.

  24. Having just undergone IVF at a military treatment facility (Walter Reed), I can say that the military does pay for some of the costs involved. We did pay about $7,000 out of pocket for just one cycle; the costs at a private facility would have been at least double that. I am really grateful for the military's assistance with that one shot we gave it. We were only able to afford it because of my husband's recent deployment and the extra pay we had saved up. He is active duty, so I'm not familiar with what the VA would cover. Because of your circumstance, perhaps you might still be able to go to an MTF near you that does IVF. As thankful as i am for the benefit of discounted IVF, I am in agreement with most folks here that IVF is not a medically necessary procedure and that it should be "free."
    I know that many private fertility clinics do give significant discount for sperm storage of service members who are deploying, but I don't know if they'd do so for returning service men.
    I'm sorry to hear your story. You're in a tough spot.

  25. My daughter tried the IFV 5 times with no success then she and my son-in-law adopted a baby girl and a year later another baby girl. The first was adopted from Russia and the entire process was less than $20,000 and would have been cheaper but they both made two trips to Russia when they could have made one trip each and saved about $5,000. My graddaughter is now a healthy seven year old. Their second child was an American adoption and the total expense was less than $8,000 and she is now a healthy six year old.

    In addition they were able to take advantage of an adoption tax deduction that acyually covered 2/3rd of the first adoption and almost all of the second.

  26. My husband has been enlisted for 8 years. He has been deployed 4 times. The military didn’t make him enlist, he chose to knowing what the risks were.

  27. SunnyRainbowHeart | September 11, 2012 at 5:34 pm |

    I don't think in vitro fertilization with some other man's sperm, not your husband's, should be covered by the military. However, I do think that prior to deployment in a war zone it should be covered for the wife to have frozen eggs fertilized by her pre-deployment husband.

  28. PRESIDENT Obama is NOT a Muslim!!! Anybody that knows anything about the President, knows that. He also does NOT hate the military. He’s the President that brought our troops home from Iraq remember!!?? Leave it to the previous President and we would still be over there fighting, Osama bin Laden would still be alive, Qadaffi would still be recking havok, and the

  29. The only "boob jobs" tricare covers are reductions. They won't even cover those unless it's a medical necessity. And I'm sorry, but unless you are walking around with chronic, debilitating pain from 36H breasts like I was, you have no idea how necessary the procedure is.

  30. You’ve got to think about what if, you can prove the infertility is due do the accident, can they prove it wasn’t . This problem may have been present since his birth and because your trying you found out

  31. I’m sure that this is going to sound insensitive but who’s to say that your husband didn’t have infertility issues prior to his deployment and being injured. Were both of you tested for infertility issues prior to him leaving? If not, is it fair to have the VA pay for what might be a pre existing condition.

    I can certainly understand how you feel (to an extent), my husband and I would also like to have children but have faced some infertility issues as well. Would I love for the military to pay for this, of course, but I also don’t expect it to come out of taxpayer dollars. Not knowing if this was a pre existing condition or the result of an injury, would it be fair for you to be “compensated” for IVF while others in the military who have infertility issues woud not be? Everyone wants exceptions to the rule but I think Tricare would be opening themselves up to big issues if they opened this up for one group of people and not others… Just a thought though.

  32. I understand the want for a child, as well as the want to have one with your husband. However, I do not believe it is the military, Government, or tax payers responsibility to pay for the conception or storage of sperm/eggs during or after deployments.

    I am retired military and my husband is still currently active duty, he is stationed in Korea while we are here in the states. We have 2 children whom though our selected medical plan tricare prime have had incredible medical coverage.

    My questions to you are as follow.

    Whom would be responsible for the payment of the storage of said sperm/eggs?

    Who would preform the procedure of IVF?

    If a female military member was injured during service and were unable to carry a child due to medical concerns, would the medical coverage, tricare, military, government and tax payers have to pay for a surrogate? As well as her care? (They would then be able to set guidelines as to who would be able to be your surrogate)

    Not all military base are fully staffed with medical personal, they have to out source as well. Giving referrals to mental health professionals, referrals for most dependent care, OBGYN, etc. CONUS bases don't provide dental care for dependents so they are treated in public dental facilities.

    If the OP was able to have the procedure done covered by VA or tricare, would this mean that the child would then be covered by VA or tircare?

    If a military members sperm/eggs were frozen and payed for by the military how long after said members death would we have to store the specimen in the chance the spouse wanted to have a child? If the specimen was disposed of after some time would the military then owe the spouse some form of compensation?

    These are just a few questions that should be brought to mind before making a decision as to if the military is responsible for your want for a family.

    As a parent I hope that you are able to fulfill you dream to have children, however I do not think it is the military or any other government agencies responsibility to make this dream come true.

    Oh one other point, was there a sperm count performed prior to the deployment that verifies that you were able to have children before you husbands unfortunate accident?

  33. It is frustrating that tricare does not cover all the expenses of ivf. My husband and I have been though one cycle and are going to be starting our second next year. I consider us military to be blessed to have a huge discount compared to the rest of the country who may pay upwards of 50 k. I think it’s unreasonable to expect them to pay for all those costs for some and not for others. We save our money to have a family and I think it should be the same for all. We should all be happy that we get these services at all at such a cheap rate. There are thousands of military families trying to have babies and have to go through this. If you do some more research, you can find places with no waiting lists.

  34. While I sympathize very much please for a moment consider the precedent this would set and could
    lead to such a cost as to bankrupt the defense budget at sometime in the future. The defense part of the budget is one of the largest, if not the largest in the national budget. Also there are other far less expensive options as some people pointed out above.

  35. I think Tricare need to pay for her IVF! They are young and didnt had time to have childrens. It wasnt our hero choice to be hurt in his groin and pretty sure he didnt want to loose bouth legs!! Is not his fault economy is bad now or, the cost of IVF is so high! The goverment need to assume the risk and pay!

  36. Not to come off as insensitive, but I feel like you are acting pretty entitled. Your husband NEEDS his hospital stays and prosthetic legs, you do not NEED to have children. You want kids that bad? You can get a sperm donor, you can adopt the hundreds of children who have no one to love them, you can use a surrogate. There are so many things out there that you can do and I can't believe that you feel that the military/the taxpayers "owe" you IVF.

  37. I'm kind of amazed by the degree of entitlement of this post. As many others have said, no one is owed the ability to have children by American taxpayers. Yes, the fact that you and your husband cannot have biological children sucks and I can understand the disappointment, but when someone joins the military they sign up for risks like this. Having children is not a life necessity and is not the government's responsibility. With the world being so overpopulated already and our government's deficit being what it is, I really can't believe someone would seriously write this.

  38. It's rediculous to expect taxpayers to pay for IVF. Having a child is not the taxpayer's responsibility, it is yours. It is a choice. You "want" a child but surely don't "need" one like a double amputee needs legs, wheelchair, etc. Also, since your husband never had a sperm count before his tragety, you have no way of knowing if there is a direct cause/effect of the IED causing a groin injury. Many men with only one testicle father kids the natural way. Sorry, but in my opinion, you are way out of line.

  39. I agree that our servicemen and veterans are entitled to anything and everything medically necessary, but having a child is NOT medically necessary.

  40. I read a lot of the comments people left here, too many for me to read all in one sitting right now, but most just don't seem to get it. You deserve to have the family you want. No you don't need a child to keep living, but you also don't need glasses, hearing aids, or even a wheelchair. But what crap! I am a surrogate mom for a couple who has had problems and the pain they went through is more than anyone can understand, even me. I tried to walk in their shoes, but it's too painful. I can't imagine what you are going through, don't give up, don't listen to most of these people. They have no idea the pain you two have gone through already and what you will go through to be a family. Most of these people need to have some compassion, understanding, and empathy. You don't have to adopt because these people think you should because it's cheaper and other people liked it. Those examples do not apply to you or your situation or point. Good luck to you, god bless you, and thank you for your service and sacrifice. Without it I wouldn't be holding my babies and writing to you now.

  41. I agree, IVF should not be paid for her. What does not make sense to me is that Mrs. Zimmerman wants to carry a child, but the child still will not be her husband's biological child, should she have IVR. Come on now, Mrs. Zimmerman, your wish would not even produce the results you say you are after, and that is your husband's BIOLOGICAL child. Sheesh! I agree with the rest – adopt! Be thankful your husband came home and can still be a father.

  42. I just find it unfair that Tricare pays for birth control to prevent a pregnancy but won't help with fertility treatment. Just my opinion. My husband and I are both struggling with infertility and the pain is overwhelming.

  43. The myth about adoption costing a lot is so disturbing, and probably one of the reasons our country continues to have so many children in foster care for far too long. As a person that has several adopted siblings, and has parents that have been foster parents for many years, I wish those without knowledge or experience would quit putting that misinformation out there. Yes, private adoption is very pricey. So, don't do private adoption if money is the concern! Take in foster children, that need homes anyway, and should they need a forever home, then adopt that child. All adoption legal fees are reimbursed, and in fact there are financial benefits–medically, with regards to taxes, and other post-adoptive assistance that your social worker will be happy to talk to you about. Please, those that are interested in adoption, stop taking the word of those that do not know about the financial cost of it. Please call your local child welfare services agency and begin to gain the correct information on your own. And those that like to propagate this myth of the costly adoption, without qualifying that you are speaking only of private adoption, please stop!

  44. Oh goodness! I am going to agree with the majority here! You, dear, knew the risks well before your husban deployed; as did he. I, being married to a veteran, having a military family, and being a mother, understand your frustration. However, the VA nor other government entities should be required to pay for you to conceive. Why wasn't thi discussed and executed before deployment? If financially it wasn't suitable, it's not the military's or government's fault. I can no longer have children and admit I want another one. I feel it's more 'knowing' I cannot have one, makes me want one more. I do not feel this is the end of your WANTING though. After this will come pregnancy coverage, birth and hospital coverage, medical coverage for the child, and social security because your husband can't work. Good Luck and God Bless your husband for his sacrifices. But this taxpayer doesn't want to foot every bill you FEEL you deserve because of your HUSBAND'S sacrifices.

  45. CWO J.E. (Ret.) | September 11, 2012 at 8:24 pm |

    This is a symptom of a generation, or two, raised with the mentality of entitlement. They are not wiling, or even able, to see how their attitudes are founded in selfishness and, "if I want it, somebody should give it to me." As a soldier, I knew or should have known that the potential of serious injury, or death, is a fate I have chosen to accept by my service. Having children is not necessary to the function of living. There are many service connected injuries and disabilities for which there is no fix or cure, and no entitlement that can force the government or anyone else to come up with a fix or cure. The VA doesn't pay for my eyeglasses, without which I cannot see to read. That is potentially life threatening. Two pill bottles, one will trigger a deathly allergic reaction, the other will cure my headache. I can't read the labels. Yet the VA will not pay for my glasses. I will not die, nor is there a "right" to reproduce. Life deals each of us a hand that we must play. Sometimes it is not a good hand, and some will even call it unfair. Suck it up cupcake. Life isn't fair. It's up to you to face disappointments and challenges with the same level of honor and integrity that you displayed in battle. There are some things that just can't be fixed or replaced; eyes, ears… testicles. Stand up, take responsibility for your life and quit waiting for someone else to give you something. Move on.

  46. Is loss of fertility covered under the same policy that pays a lump sum for loss of eyesight, limb, etc? I doubt it, but if so that money should be applied to the cost of IVF. However, why is IVF necessary? Intrauterine insemination (clinical turkey baster) should be all that is needed if all infertility is with the male and is a fraction the cost of IVF. It is even free at 4 military hospitals. If IVF is necessary due to a problem with the wife this has nothing to do with his injury and should not be a liability of the military.

  47. You should contact your Congressman!

  48. I dont know if I agree that in virto should be paid for by the military…. I understand that the military may be why you cant have a baby… but… its risky and expensive… our soliders are barely making enough money because the government is broke.. and whose to say everyone is supposed to have kids… Ive met many people that shouldnt have children…

  49. A volunteer warrior, even though he is a volunteer, is not expected to have to pay a cost that will make him or her whole again, or as whole as someone can be, regarding the received injuries in a combat zone. If an arm is taken off by a bomb blast, then give the warrior a new arm. If a warrior receives injuries that does not make him as whole as he was, prior to going into combat, then the government should pay for anything that will make him as whole as he can, including paying for an IVF under the circumstances.

  50. Megan,

    I empathize with your plight to become parents. I went through 18 years of infertility treatments, from testing to artificial insemination-all of these were covered under TriCare. We stopped at in vitro because we couldn’t afford the cost. The medications alone had already put us $20,000.00 in debt at 24 years old-and that is over and above what TriCare did cover. While having children is your hearts greatest desire, it’s not a guarantee that he was fertile to begin with and isn’t part of the indoc physical he took. Maybe he never was, would that be the fault of the military, then? Or better yet, his parents? Sorry to be so blunt. When we hit that financial wall, we started filling out adoption paperwork to start getting on that long wait-list. By the grace of God, one sperm made it through and found it’s egg and we had a child. My husband also has one testicle and low to almost no sperm count. We got lucky 2 more times over 15 year span. Wasn’t the way we wanted to have kids, but it was the way he did have them. Maybe a better fight is freezing sperm before deployment and up to 1 year after return. But again, that should not be on the taxpayers ticket. We already pay for the military wages, the medical treatment, facilities and equipment for all those who need it. My husband is retired now and our children are almost grown. After everything we went through, I could never ask the taxpayers to pay for in vitro. There are sooo many babies about there that would love a forever family. I do wish you all the luck in the world in your quest.

  51. People keep talking about freezing sperm etc prior to deployment however no one has discussed legal issues. There was case after 9/11 of mom attempting to get benefits for her child but judge said there was no proof he was father. The wife is speaking on behalf of husband. Who’s to say this is his wish also? Gov’t should not have to pay as this could be pre-existing condition.

  52. This woman has my sympathy but I am not at all in agreement. It's not the government's responsibility to help anyone have children. Most private insurance doesn't cover IVF either. How does she even know for sure that her husband could have children before his injury? Children are not necessary for a full life. I am sure there are many other spouses whose husbands have been KIA that would love to be in this woman's predicament. Instead their husband/wife is gone forever. Maybe it's time she starts focusing on what she does have, instead of what she doesn't. Adoption is always an option (unless this couples chooses against it, in which case that's on them), as is paying for IVF on their own. The option of having a child isn't being taken away but anyone or anything but her stubbornness to pay and self entitled attitude.

  53. It is frustrating that tricare does not cover all the expenses of ivf. My husband and I have been though one cycle and are going to be starting our second next year. I consider us military to be blessed to have a huge discount compared to the rest of the country who may pay upwards of 50 k. I think it's unreasonable to expect them to pay for all those costs for some and not for others. We save our money to have a family and I think it should be the same for all. We should all be happy that we get these services at all at such a cheap rate. There are thousands of military families trying to have babies and have to go through this. If you do some more research, you can find places with no waiting lists.

  54. This is just a selfish expectation, to want the VA to pay for IVF. Do you know how many Vets are out there waiting for more important procedures and assistance and can’t get them or have to wait forever? This is an important event for you and your family so that’s who should foot the bill. I don’t want to work everyday and have my tax dollars be distributed to suit personal needs like IVF. If wanting a child is the issue, there are plenty of wonderful children being placed in foster care daily due to no cause of their own. They need a homes. This is not a priority, especially with the number of wounded warriors that are flowing into the VA for all types of medical, mental and social assistance. I hope something works out for this family to aquire children, but surely not with funds from the VA nor the Government.

  55. Gee, the guy retired from the military, gets 100 % compensatation from the VA, plus he could get a couple more thousand because of the severe disability and she could also get around 3 thousand as a caregiver if required, all medicine and care free and on top of that he could receive around 2 thousand from social security. I am sure is the wife can work and help pay for this theirselves instead of the taxpayers paying.

  56. The only reason for IVF in this case is for intracytoplasmic sperm injection, where non-viable sperm (a sperm incapable of penetrating the wall of the ovum on its own) is injected into an egg. To begin with, this procedure has a lower chance of producing a viable pregnancy than even "conventional" IVF, and even if a viable pregnancy results, it causes at least a 10% chance of severe birth defects. I really think these factors should be taken into consideration in this discussion too.

  57. David R Finley | September 12, 2012 at 8:40 am |

    YOU THINK THATS SOMETHING I HAD TO HAVE A TRIPLE BYPASS ABD THE VA WOULD NOT PAY
    FOR THE ANESTESIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  58. My opinion is strange on this as I do not believe anyone has looked at this concern. What happens if you divorce? Who is then responsible, especially if his sperm is not viable? Is the government going to have to pay child support? Well no. However this thought should be considered.

  59. Let me start by saying that I get extremely annoyed when people start griping about how insurance doesn't cover fertility treatment. It would be great if they did, but having children is not a medical necessity. I don't want my health insurance to triple in cost because they decided to cover fertility treatments. It would be great if fertility treatments were cheap, but they're not, so they're not covered.
    With that said, wounded warriors with fertility problems are a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SITUATION. Their fertility problems are not caused by their age, lifestyle choices, or even genetics. They sacrificed their fertility for their country, no differently then they sacrificed their legs. We offer facial reconstructive surgery to our veterans who have been burned, not because it's cheap or medically necessary, but because they made a sacrifice for their country and it's our job to try and give them the best treatment available to help them live a normal life. It only seems like the right thing to do to pay for x amount of fertility treatments and/or x amount towards adoption. And may I say I am very grateful for our many soldiers who have made great sacrifices for our country. The author's husband's injuries sound very painful and anyone who calls a wounded warrior's wife that is trying to make the best of a difficult situation "selfish" needs to think before they speak.

  60. The military should put something in place where a male member can freeze his sperm prior to deployment when he get his physicals to get cleared for the deployment, and if a military member/family wants to participate, they can have this as a choice in case a tragedy or unfortunate case. Now there are bases that perform pregnancy services for a discounted prices than the normal market. But continue to stand up for your rights, so something can be done so in the future, so other couples do not have to go through this.

  61. In reply to all the "just go out and adopt" posts. If it were that easy,then there would be far fewer children needing homes. It is EXPENSIVE,whether domestic or international.

  62. I agree with Jennifer, my husband and I have been trying for 10 years. I have PCOS, plus additional auto immune disease and a partially closed fallopian tube. My odds of getting pregnant are about 5-10%. I felt sorry for myself for awhile and then realized that there are other options if you are smart enough to look. Walter Reed, Texas, Hawaii all cover IVF but YES there is a wait list. There is also adoption. With the military supporting both I don't feel as though I am losing the ability to bear children I am looking in a different direction. God closes a door but opens a window! Look outside the box for the answers you seek.

  63. The US GOV is paying for an inmate to have a sex change in prison, 50,000 bill. My wife and I paid 25,000 for in vitro (twice) and it didn't work. This was before the military pid for this benefit. We adopted 2 boys, one a freshman, one a senior, both in college. There are many kids that need a family. We were blessed. I hope you find resolution to this.

  64. Straight from the Tricare Prime website!

    In-Vitro Fertilization

    Not covered. See Infertility Treatment

    Note: While TRICARE does not cover in vitro fertilization (IVF), there are four military treatment facilities (MTFs) where IVF medical training programs are conducted. Beneficiaries who participate in these programs will be responsible for all MTF costs.

    Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, TX
    Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, HI
    Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD
    Naval Medical Center in San Diego, CA

    Infertility Treatment

    TRICARE covers diagnostic services for both men and women to identify physical illnesses or injuries to the reproductive system that may be the cause of infertility. Depending upon the diagnosis, certain therapies such as hormonal treatment, corrective surgery, antibiotics, administration of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) or radiation therapy may be covered by TRICARE for both sexes.

    TRICARE does not cover non-coital reproductive technologies such as artificial insemination, in-vitro fertilization or other types of assisted reproductive technology (ART) except under special circumstances for some severely wounded warriors.

    Some Military Treatment Facilities may offer assisted reproductive technology services as part of their graduate medical education training programs. Your gynecologist, Primary Care Provider or Urologist is the best resource to provide you information about the locations of these MTFs and the services they have available. Severely Wounded Warriors should contact their respective Service for information on resources may be available to them.

    Exclusions

    Services related to non-coital reproductive technologies including but not limited to artificial insemination (including cost of donors and sperm banks)
    In-vitro fertilization (IVF) and Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)
    Reversal of surgical sterilization is not covered for either sex.
    Last Modified:June 5, 2012

    My husband is in the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, as a spouse who is covered by Tricare Prime I believe it is the insured parties responsibility to know what your insurance covers.

  65. I want to remind everyone….Serving in the United States military is 100% VOLUNTARY. THEY did not make our soldiers join and THEY are not responsible for ensuring we have children. Some of you should go back 25 years and see what we were able to muddle through with to get through our daily lives. The demands of todays soldiers and spouses are borderline ridiculous. More than likely if a man got a similar injury on a job in the civilian world, this would not be covered. But hey, let's demand more for our soldiers sacrifice. Tit for tat?….Little honor in that!!! Hooah!!!

  66. Megan,
    Do not give up. I would write a letter to a number of IVF service providers to share your story and request a donation of services for your VET. Suggest that Military.com among other media outlets would love to highlight their generousity. You may be surprised that one of these medical centers might offer you this service significantly discounted or gratis. Good luck!

  67. Megan,

    A new life given between two people is so precious and a gift from God. Sometimes we cannot receive what we want and desire, according to God's plan for you and your family. We have to accept God's plan for us and our families, yet we do not know what that plan shall and will be, until His timing. What will be for you and your husband, shall be, according to His plan for your lives. We do not understand when or for what reason you are going through what has happened. Just maintain your faith, without wavering, and trust that He will provide.

    As a Marine Corps Sergeant, Vietnam and Cold War Veteran, I sympathize and have great empathy for you and your husband, and the situation you find yourself in.

    Please do not allow the so cold and negative remarks get to you found on here, because I have been fighting them for you. I expected no less idiocy from the ungrateful citizens of this land. A person bluntly informed me one day that the citizens of these divided states could care less about me, my military background and what I have experienced by the Veterans Administration since getting out of service. Unfortunately the negative remarks also shows me the individual that floored me with his remarks, apparently are so true.

    This nation for the most part will be awakened one day, which will be way to late and then let us see how many calls upon the consistent 3% that are willing to die for the very people that seems to not care one iota what the experiences are for the brave, courageous and devoted people that continue to sit on their asses and complain about the cost of a procedure that will help a warrior regain a life he wanted for himself and family.

    Do not be discouraged, which is easier said than done, but I am looking into this for you!

  68. The VA doesn't cover it because it would require providing care to a dependent, the VA is for veterans only they don't provide any dependent care. This would open up a whole new class of services that the VA was not set up for and the line needs to be drawn somewhere. I already wait months for appointments as a category one patient vets don't need to ads dependents to that waiting line too.

  69. And on top of that, the entire military health care system is trending toward LESS care for families and dependents, rather than more. That's why they call it TRICARE, TRY to GET CARE.

  70. The VA does cover IVF… for veterans. How do I know? I am a female vet with complications from my service experiencing issues with conception. My current treatments are covered and my IVF, should it come to that will be covered. Now my family is lucky in that both myself and my husband are eligible veterans in the VA system. Meaning both my medical expenses and his for the procedure are covered (expect for our agreed upon copay). However, if my husband were not a veteran (or an eligible veteran for that matter) the costs of his participation would not be covered. I am willing to wager that with the right conversation with the admins of your VA, they would cover his costs for the procedure. Also strict requirements for IVF are not silly. It is a highly invasive procedure and very expensive as you have noted. These guidelines are in place to ensure the best likelihood for success.

  71. DocGay-I feel for you but I can't reach you,that is what the VA is saying to you.Good luck tring to get them too do anything like that for you.I signed up for VA benefits 2 years ago because of Agent Orange and I am getting no where with them.My problems are getting worst and no hope insight as of yet.It is the old waiting game they are playing with you.You are most likely the 1st one to ask for a baby through the VA.If it isn't in their rule book then you are SOOL(S**T OUT OF LUCK)Sorry but I do understand your problem and I wish you luck.De Oppresso Liber

  72. Megan was fed incorrect information. A bill passed awhile ago to provide IVF to injured troops, with an amendment allowing for donor sperm passing last week. I am currently at Walter Reed with my own double amputee. Perhaps the urology clinic in San Antonio isn't as up-to-date as the one here.

    99% of these comments are terrible. People have absolutely no idea what they're talking about, because the ones commenting have no idea what this is like. No. Idea. Megan's blog post was definitely emotional, but SpouseBuzz isn't about facts or presenting all the information- it's a blog site. I can't believe there are so many trolls on this site. Suffice it to say, I won't miss being an Army spouse.

  73. Since my longer comment will probably not be approved due to being honest in my disgust with this post, I'll write something a bit shorter.

    How dare you waste money belonging to disabled veterans who actually NEED care, from an organization and government that's already stretched to its limit, on your petty, selfish whims? IVF is a complete WASTE of money, and if you want such an elective procedure, you jolly well should pay for it yourself.

  74. Children are human beings in and of themselves. They are not treatment or therapy for someone else's medical issues regardless of how those issues came to be. What you all are talking about is the creation of another human being as if it were some kind of treatment for combat wounds. Let me assure you IT'S NOT.

    I notice there isn't much being said about the child potentially being created, or the veteran who was injured. Let me tell you what SHOULD be being said.

    I am the daughter of a combat veteran. My father was in two explosions in Vietnam. He did two tours and received two purple hearts and a bronze star, and a raging case of PTSD, TBI, and a lifelong addiction to opiates without which he cannot cope. First off, rather than worrying about whether or not you can get yourself knocked up, you SHOULD be worrying about whether or not your husband is receiving adequate treatment for the trauma of having been in combat. The issues that come along with having been in a combat-related explosion are absolutely *enormous*. They will affect your marriage and they will affect YOU. That should be your main and only concern right now, your marriage and his mental and physical health, full stop. The fact that you could even write an article like this makes me suspect you don't have the foggiest idea of the gravity of what it means to be in a relationship with a combat vet. His injury JUST happened. You are facing a lifetime of the repercussions of that. Trust me, Megan, you ain't seen nothing yet.

    Secondly, I am here to tell you from personal experience that combat veterans do not make good parents. I am related to two of them. I assume I will be ripped apart for saying it, but I really don't care because it's true. I am an adult and have been on this planet for 35 years. Both my brothers and I now deal with lifelong trauma and emotional issues stemming from my father's horrific problems – his violence, his drug addiction, his anger, his sleep deprivation, inability to hold a job, inability to relate to others, his emotional absence. My grandparents on both sides had to step up and largely do the crap work of raising us because my father was too F*ed up to do it. I got to watch him shoot up, I got to watch him savage my mother, and now I get to watch him slowly kill himself with drugs. I can barely type this through the choking fog I see just thinking about it. I could go into more detail that would raise the hair on the back of your neck and make you $#it yourself about what it's like to grow up with a combat veteran, but I won't. Suffice it to say you need to think not once, not twice, but about a hundred times before you decide you want to have a baby with someone who has been severely traumatized in war. Because I am here to tell you that even though I am happy to be here, my father the combat vet should NEVER, EVER have become a parent. I still deal with him to this day and it is a cloud of misery that mars my happiness every single day, even though I love him I loathe him too. It has been HELL and it is HELL. That has been my experience. That has been the experience of so many others like me.

    I hope they allow this post. I hope you read it. I hope you reconsider.

  75. I am also the child of a combat veteran and I totally agree with LoveMyMSgt. I had to deal with my step father's alchoholism and PTSD. It was not a pretty childhood. I urge everyone to consider what LoveMyMSgt and I have to say before forcing any child to deal with circumstances they can neither understand nor control. I hope my post is also read and taken to heart.

  76. I am shocked that there is such a debate going on here about whether IVF should be covered. Having a child is a choice, yes. Of course it is. But its also a choice that 90%+ American's make. I don't see having child as a choice akin to wearing or needing glasses, or whether to move, or whether to make another life decision. The term "biological clock" is out there for a reason! Yes, adoption is a wonderful, awesome thing and possibly will be the road that this couple ends up going down. But to not even give them the option to attempt to have a biological child because of injuries sustained due to fighting for our country? Even one round of IVF? To me, your testicles and sperm are another body part. If they will cover assistance and rehab and whatever is needed for other injuries, they should cover this as well. And for everyone discussing that the VA isn't covering enough–they should be covering everything else that a veteran needs as well! I cannot believe that people are stating that its a choice to have a child and thus the women should be looking elsewhere? Comparing being able to have your testicles and sperm to tricare covering dependent glasses? REALLY? There is NO comparison. If there is no money, then their is no money–I get it. But if SHOULD be covered. Is there money for it to be covered? Will it ultimately be covered? I don't know. But at the end of the day, it SHOULD be.
    The fact that there are so many judgemental, unsupportive comments on here is shameful. Luckily there was a few on here offering good solutions, but outnumbered 10 to 1 by the petty comments saying this author is whining and wanting more than deserved. Take away your ability to have a biological child with your husband, add in a dash of a severely wounded husband, add all the stress of military life and the extreme amount of sacrifice, then we'll see how much you appreciate these comments.

  77. Has to be a good reason why your bodies not good enough to have children……in no way shape or form should our military healthcare system pay for for IVF or any other means of getting someone pregnant, if it doesn't happen naturally, then, your not meant to procreate. Leave the money and the doctors for those veterans who really need them, not some whining, snot nosed wife who can't get pregnant and thinks adoption is beneath her…………

  78. Lovey Wright | January 9, 2013 at 8:11 pm |

    I do understand your pain. If you were injured while on active duty and in the line of duty, the military should pay for your injury and treatments. As far as infertility, they do pay for some treatments to help you concieve, but not IVF. Depending on the state you live in, you may be eligible with certain insurance.

    The military pays for children concieved before and after you join the military so why not IVF to help some who had an injury that cause the infertility in the first place. If you were on a job and had an on-the-job injury and sued them, you would be able to claim your injury and be paid for it if the injury caused you not to be able to have children.

    Some people who talk against paying for the IVF may have children already. Also, if the military can pay a veteran for pre-exiting conditions before theor military service, why not IVF when a soldier served his time and was injured on active duty? what is wrong with this picture? Also, pay for spouces and dependents not issued to you in the military??

    Lovey Wright

  79. They pay for gastic bypass surgery, hstorectomies, liposuction and tummy tucks, comsmetic boob jobs cy not because of masectomy for breast cancer women, reversal of a steralization method, surrogacy for can't carry a baby for women veterans and other surgeries that are not service connected??? Not medically necessary??

    What's wrong with this picture?
    BB

  80. Thank you for the story. I found this out the hard way as well. My husband and I have both been married before. He was lucky enough to have children and I am now a proud step mom. However, the military doesn't want to do anything to assist the fact that we can't have children now. I have inquired several times about the in vitro procedures through the military and the cost is abot the same a s a civilian doctor but with much lower results (depending on the hospital/region). There are the strick limitations to the people who qualify and the list is very long (several YEARS long). I feel your pain and time is running out. Looks like we'll be taking out a loan just to have kids.

  81. As a woman who proudly served in the Military I have to say no….this is not right!!!! How dare you get upset that the VA doesn't cover an expensive "elective" procedure that has nothing to do with the welfare of your disabled husband. I could understand if you both served being a little upset about it, but there are veterans coming home everyday that have to wait YEARS to just get the basic help they need in order to live life day to day, and you want to take time and money away from those who really need it? no! no! no! Now don't get me wrong I truly understand the want and desire to have a child, I really do. But there are other options then tank what little money the VA has and wasting it at $5,00-$15000 a try!!! if you want then save up ask for a loan or adopt like all the others who are going through the same issue. Don't ask for what you yourself did not earn. If you want to become a parent the first thing you need to learn is to put others first and hunny….you are last in line.

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