Veterans win fight for fertility coverage

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Christine Noel, KUSA
5:36 PM. MDT September 29, 2016

KUSA – The inability to conceive a child is a health obstacle millions of couples face every year.

Such was the case for Army Corporal Tyler Wilson and his wife, Crystal.

Back in 2005, Wilson was badly injured during a firefight in Afghanistan. He was left paralyzed from the waist down. As a result, he was unable to conceive naturally.

In effort to start a family, Tyler and his then- fiancé, Crystal started looking into in vitro fertilization and quickly learned of a gaping hole in the VA’s health coverage: the department didn’t cover fertility treatments for veterans wounded in combat.

Because of that, the couple was on their own in paying for fertility treatments, which generally costs more than $15,000 each attempt.

“So we went to Washington to fight for change,” said Crystal. “It was as liberating as it was frustrating because we weren’t sure if it was going to happen.”

This week, that change came.

Congress passed a bill with a measure that will allow the VA to provide fertility treatments to wounded veterans.

While it’s encouraging and exciting for veterans wanting to start a family, Crystal said the bill passed is not a permanent solution in the long run.

“More needs to be done,” said Crystal,” Next year, this is going to come up again and we are going to continue to fight for every single veteran sitting in Tyler’s seat to find a permanent solution.”

It’s a permanent solution that Dr. William Schoolcraft, founder of Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, believes all veterans deserve.

In recent months, his clinic has taken care of 50% of costs associated with IVF, which for the Wilson’s was a huge cost-saving measure for an otherwise costly treatment.

“For the role they’ve paid in serving our country, whatever we can do to make their lives more normal, feel more whole, I think it’s our duty to help,” said Dr. Schoolcraft. “The goal is for this to be a long-term solution.”

Tyler and Crystal ended up paying more than $12,000 for their fertility treatments. They announced in July that they are expecting their first baby in March.

“It’s a miracle baby. It has already defied the odds” said Crystal.

While the new health coverage didn’t cover the costs of this first pregnancy, the Wilson’s said they hope it will be available to them for baby number two.

“We always said we wanted two kids,” said Crystal “And we won’t stop fighting for these services for veterans.”

Copyright 2016 KUSA