VA Will Help Injured Veterans With Fertility Treatment

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Photo: Veterans IVF Tyler and Crystal Wilson
Tyler Wilson and his wife, Crystal, believe the Veterans Administration should help injured veterans with fertility issues receive in-vitro fertilization services. Tyler Wilson was paralyzed during a firefight in Afghanistan.

When Tyler Wilson returned home from Army service in Afghanistan in 2005, he was paralyzed -- the result of a gunshot wound suffered in a firefight with insurgents. Like many wounded veterans, his injuries caused fertility issues.

While he was in treatment for his wounds, Wilson met and fell in love with his physical therapist, Crystal. When they got married and decided to have children, they learned that the Veterans Administration does not fund in-vitro fertilization services for veterans.

The Wilsons traveled to Washington D.C. earlier this year to lobby Congress to provide those benefits. Congress lifted the ban but only temporarily. Unless further action is taken, the benefit will expire in two years.

While Congress debated the question, the Wilsons decided to go ahead with IVF. They found a private clinic in the Denver area that offered a discount on the procedure. Crystal Wilson is now pregnant, and expecting a baby in March.

Tyler and Crystal Wilson of Golden spoke with Colorado Matters host Andrea Dukakis.

Crystal Wilson, on military families and the chance to have children:

"War changes families. It shouldn't take away your opportunity to have a family...War potentially took away mine and Tyler's chance to have a family of our own. We were lucky enough that we had amazing people behind us. I mean, we charged up our credit cards $14,000 because it meant that much for us to have a family of our own. "

Tyler Wilson, on why he and Crystal decided to share their infertility problems:

"There's a lot of guys that are out there... [who] don't want to talk about infertility issues. It's a very private matter for a lot of people. But when it comes to infertility for veterans and this whole program, we felt compelled to speak out and speak up about it because there are a lot of people out there that don't know this is an issue to begin with."

Crystal Wilson on their continuing efforts to lobby for IVF for veterans:

"Tyler and I will not give up fighting for making this coverage [possible] and whatever it takes for us to keep the story going and keep the issue in the forefront, that's what we're here to do."