WASHINGTON, D.C. — A group of wounded veterans and their spouses arrived on Capitol Hill Tuesday with their 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 .
"I felt betrayed and maybe forgotten," Army veteran Matt Keil said.
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 have their 5 1/2-year-old twins through in vitro fertilization. Congress barred the Veterans Administration from paying for IVF back in 1992.
"I feel like I'm begging my country to provide a service to me that I lost fighting for this country," Keil said.
The Keils came to Washington with other military couples. They want to make sure other veterans who can't conceive naturally due to combat injuries don't have to self-fund their families. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., 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 are expecting a girl in August.
"In the end we will have a baby in our arms," Lauren Jaye said. "It means everything. It means normal life."
Lauren's health benefits from being a teacher helped cover the cost. The government that sent Kevin to war did not.
Cox Media Group