WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - They fought for our country overseas, but thousands of wounded warriors did not anticipate the battle they would fight upon their return.
It’s the fight for coverage of in vitro fertilization, or IVF, to help them start families after enduring injuries that made them infertile.
Wounded warriors told WUSA9 that they feel betrayed and forgotten. Many say having children will help them feel whole again.
“We are fighting so hard to be able to have a child,” Kevin Jaye said.
Kevin and Lauren Jaye have finally won that battle. Lauren is 26 weeks pregnant now, but only after the Hagerstown couple shelled out their own money to pay for IVF.
“It’s not covered by the VA and that is the most devastating thing. It’s like, you cover everything else,” said Kevin Jaye. “Why not this? It’s heartbreaking.”
“You really have no idea how much love and courage and strength it takes to create life and it hurts to be not supported by your country,” Lauren Jaye said.
The Jayes are not alone. Thousands of service men and women have sustained injuries that make having children difficult.
“I felt betrayed. Maybe forgotten,” Matt Keil said. “I feel like at this point I’m begging my country to provide a service to me that I lost fighting for this country.”
Senator Patty Murray is leading the effort to allow the Veterans Administration to pay for reproductive services like IVF.
“Part of being whole again is having a family and then, the VA says no. We’re not paying for it. That’s just so wrong to me,” Senator Murray said.
After two and a half years in the hospital, the Jayes now look forward to a future as parents of a little girl, despite the high cost.
“In the end, we’ll have a baby in our arms and that means everything. It means normal life.”
Ironically the cost of IVF is covered for active duty personnel by the Department of Defense. However, the cost of IVF is not covered for wounded veterans by the VA.
Senator Murray’s legislation heads to the full Senate in the appropriations bill, as early as this week.