Apex family calling on Congress for IVF funding for vets
Posted June 17, 2016 5:14 p.m. EDT
Updated June 17, 2016 6:31 p.m. EDT
Apex, N.C. — Veterans whose injuries have left them unable to conceive children may soon be getting long-sought help as congressional negotiations on funding near a close.
For many, their only option is in vitro fertilization, or IVF, which can cost an average of $12,500 per round. Currently, coverage is available only to active-duty military, not veterans, but a Senate-passed measure that would lift a 1992 law would help.
Jeff Lynch, 30, of Apex, was severely injured while serving in Iraq nine years ago. He was the gunner of a Humvee that ran over an IED. Since then, Lynch has had 129 surgeries and has retired from the military.
"When people see him, he looks perfectly normal," said his wife, Christy Lynch. "It has always been our plan to have more kids."
The couple's first-born child, LJ, weighed only 13 ounces and died shortly after birth. Their second child, CateLyn, was born in 2009. But more children never came, and the couple was diagnosed with infertility.
"With Jeff, he has a brain injury. So, for us, we have both the female infertility factor, and with his brain injury, it complicates things," said Christy Lynch. "Then the option to take care of that is to take him off his medication, which we don't want to do, or we can go through IVF."
Jeff Lynch is one of the estimated 2,000 servicemen and women who have injuries that rob their ability to have children.
"I'd rather go to war any day than see the pain and suffering on my wife's face," Jeff Lynch said. "I'd rather get injured, lose my leg or lose my life than see the hurt on my wife's face and the disappointment that I cannot give my wife a child."
The Lynches are now calling on Congress to help wounded veterans by funding reproductive assistance.
"One of our friends got shot by a sniper. He is a paraplegic," said Christy Lynch. "His only option when it is time for him to have children is IVF. So, it's not just about us, but about everyone who comes behind us. He deserves the respect of a human being when he comes home to be able to have a family and have that American dream that he fought for everyone else."
The Wounded Warrior Project, along with 13 other veterans service organizations, is lobbying for lawmakers to secure IVF funding for combat-wounded veterans. The organizations are working to make sure the bill is in the final budget that will go before President Barack Obama.