A group of wounded veterans and their spouses visited Capitol Hill on Tuesday with dreams of having a family, something they can't do naturally due to combat injuries.
Veterans benefits do not include payments for in vitro fertilization. Congress barred the Department of Veterans Affairs from paying for IVF back in 1992.
"I felt betrayed and maybe forgotten," said Army veteran Matt Keil.
Keil was shot in the spine during a tour of duty in Iraq and left paralyzed from the neck down. He and his wife Tracy paid $32,000 out of pocket to conceive their 5-and-a-half-year old twins through in vitro fertilization.
"I feel like I'm begging my country to provide a service to me that I lost (while) fighting for this country," Keil said.
The Keils and other military couples want to urge Congress to make changes so that other veterans who can't conceive naturally due to combat injuries don't have to self-fund their families. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, is championing a plan that would allow the VA to cover IVF procedures.
"This is the cost of war," Murray said."We treat every other injury. It is part of the promise that we make men and women who serve this country."
The Defense Department covers in vitro fertilization for active duty service members. Many troops have to medically retire because their injuries are so severe.
Kevin Jaye stepped on a roadside bomb. After two rounds of IVF, he and his wife, Lauren Jaye, are expecting a baby girl in August.
"In the end we will have a baby in our arms," Lauren said. "It means everything. It means normal life."
Lauren's health benefits from being a teacher helped cover the cost.
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