A Veteran's Infertility Story
A few months ago I accidentally posted an article about infertility on the Blue Star Families Facebook page that I had intended to post on my personal page. To my surprise, there were many comments from military spouses also suffering from infertility. Treating infertility among military couples is complicated by training and deployment schedules and frequent moves necessitating provider changes. Tricare also doesn't cover IVF (in vitro fertilization) and let's face it, not many of us are getting rich in the military. Treatment can be expensive and take years.
Fertile Dreams, a nonprofit working to make treatment possible for families suffering from infertility contacted us with the story of one military family's struggle.
Dear Fertile Dreams,
I came across your organization after searching for ways that my wife and I can achieve our dream of becoming parents and I’m hoping that you might be able to help us.
I am a SSGT in the MARINES and have been serving for the last 15 years and on my last deployment I was injured November 2009 during a firefight in Afghanistan. My wife and I have been trying to start our family for the last 3 years and due to my injuries and surgeries we will have to do IVF. I have had multiple surgeries to my legs, arm and stomach and have been in an out of surgeries for the last 8 months and I am still on the road to recovery.
I have had my sperm tested 3 times during the last 2 years because we were not getting pregnant and I wanted to have some frozen just in case I got killed overseas. I wanted to make sure her dreams were fulfilled.
I had a normal count prior to my last deployment but when I came back from deployment and retested my sperm count was around 400,000 and the only thing that could of killed my count was all the surgeries and the trauma and stress my body has been put through. I recently had my sperm tested again at Walter Reed and the numbers were up but still significantly low. We are hoping by January my numbers will be better and my sperm will be healthier for the January cycle. We have contacted Walter Reed and have gone through all the male and female tests to be medically cleared now we have to come up with the funding for the procedure.
The procedure will cost $6,000 and thank goodness for the Semper Fi fund because they have given us $6,000 but now we must travel and come up with living expenses. My wife will have to be up in the Walter Reed area 4 weeks throughout the cycle.
My wife and I will need to travel to Walter Reed 4 to 5 more times and the cost is about $100 for gas each time and at least $100 a night for lodging. I estimate we will need at least 10 nights at a hotel which will add up very quickly.
I would like my wife to be stress free through this process and not have to worry about all the extra expenses. We feel like we have overcome so much and we are so close to having our dream of holding a baby in our arms that we just need a little bit of help. I know there are no guarantees.
I appreciate anything that can be done for us!
The mission of Fertile Dreams is to empower those touched by fertility issues through education, advocacy and The Embracing Hope Grant. We are also committed to lending our voice to help raise awareness regarding infertility and help those that need assistance with their family building options. To contact Fertile Dreams, email Preya Shivdat, Program Director, at Preya@FertileDreams.org.