United States

Veterans Seek Help with Infertility Treatment

Legislation is making its way through Congress that would allow the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to begin to offer fertility treatment services to wounded veterans.

According to a study of veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, or elsewhere during the same time period, 15.8 percent of women and 13.8 percent of men reported that they had experienced infertility, as reported by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Matt and Shaina Davis, of Anna, know how valuable the financial assistance for fertility treatments could be.

Matt Davis joined the Marines in 2005 soon after high school, and while in Iraq he was injured in a rocket-propelled grenade attack.

Both of his arms were shattered, including a lacerated brachial artery in his left arm. His other injuries included collapsed lungs and lacerations from where the dog tags he carried in his pocket blew through his leg.

He also suffered a severe blow to the head.

After he returned to the United States, Matt and Shaina, high school sweethearts, were reunited.

"I wasn't prepared. I was not ready to see him that way," Shaina Davis said.

"But once I'd seen that it was okay, it was like, I knew that she was the one for me. If she can see me at my worst and accept me for that, it didn't matter what I'd turn into, she'd still love me," Matt Davis said.

Together, the two battled through Matt's months-long recovery, then they married and started trying for a family.

But after seven years, they had no children and were surprised to learn of the reason why.

Matt Davis's physical injuries and the massive recovery, which included blood transfusions, made him infertile, and the couple's only option was in vitro fertilization, which costs $12,000 to $15,000.

"That's something else that's a blow to these veterans, these brave men and women alike, who are willing to die for this country, and then they get back and something as simple as wanting to have a family. And now you're going to have to deal with the financial burden of that as well," said Shaina Davis.

They were referred to Dr. Victor Beshay, a fertility specialist in Allen.

"It's more recently coming to light in recent years, especially with recent wars. And servicemen and women are coming back with injuries and we are discovering those problems," Beshay said.

The Davises learned of Compassionate Corps, a program from EMD Serono, that financially assists families of veterans with fertility issues.

The program covered 20 percent of the in vitro fertilization costs, and soon after treatment, Matt and Shaina Davis received the phone call they had been praying for.

"I get off the phone and I just start crying, and Matt looked at me and he goes, 'It's okay if it didn't work, we will get through this,'" recalled Shaina Davis.

"I say, 'We are finally going to be parents,' and we cried in the parking lot for 20 minutes, just holding each other," she said.

Nine months later, Shaina delivered a healthy set of twins, Ascen and Edith.

"It's like a dream come true. I didn't know if it would happen, you know," Matt Davis said.

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill that would allocate money to the Department of Veterans Affairs for IVF services. The Senate still must vote on the measure.

For information on Compassionate Corps program from EMD Serono, visit FertilityLifelines.com.

Contact Us