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Wounded vets cant get help with in vitro fertilization costs
JUDY WOODRUFF: For thousands of young veteransin America, putting the wars in Afghanistan JUDY WOODRUFF: For thousands of young veteransin America, putting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq behind them remains a constant challenge.For some, starting a family is an important part of the healing process. But, as the quot;NewsHourquot;'s William Branghamreports, even that can be a struggle. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All newlyweds face challenges,but Jason and Rachel Hallett have more challenges than most. Jason is a triple amputee. Backin 2010, at age 19, this young Marine lost two legs and an arm when he stepped on anIED while on patrol in Afghanistan. CPL. JASON HALLETT (RET.), U.S. Marine Corps:When 911 and everything happened, I was I.
Had a little bit of interest to join the military.But, as soon as that happened, it just became had a little bit of interest to join the military.But, as soon as that happened, it just became everything was circling around me joiningthe military. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: After his injury, barelyclinging to life, and riddled with infections, Jason was cared for at U.S. military facilitiesin Germany, Maryland and California. He hadn't been in touch with Rachel sincethey dated back in eighth grade. But, in the , he found her again on Facebook. RACHEL HALLETT, Wife of Jason Hallett: Hesends me this friend request a couple years after I had kind of given up. And when I sawwhat had happened, I just started crying.
He hadn't posted, like, what happened. Buthe had, like his picture obviously was He hadn't posted, like, what happened. Buthe had, like his picture obviously was different than last time I remembered him,and said that he worked for the Marine Corps, so I kind of put two pieces together. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Facebook led to phone calls,which led to a visit, and then a wedding day. They now live in Windsor, Colorado. Jason'sstudying to be a certified financial planner. Rachel babysits to make extra money, buther fulltime job now really is caring for Jason, and she gets a small stipend from theVA for that work. What the Halletts want most is to start afamily. But there's a problem.
RACHEL HALLETT: We had just kind of been toldthat it would probably be a problem because RACHEL HALLETT: We had just kind of been toldthat it would probably be a problem because of some of his injuries and where his shrapnelis. There's tons of shrapnel everywhere throughout his body. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Still in your body today? CPL. JASON HALLETT: Yes. So, basically, oneof the pieces had actually connected itself to one of my testicles. And so I now haveto take testosterone injections basically to get me back to normal. And with that, oneof the side effects is, it basically kills the sperm off.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In order to conceive a child,the Halletts have to go through lengthy in WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In order to conceive a child,the Halletts have to go through lengthy in vitro fertilization treatments. In vitro isan expensive process. It typically costs about $12,000 to $13,000 per try, and the firsttry often doesn't work, nor does the second. So the bills can stack up. But, unlike allthe other medical treatment related to Jason's injuries, the VA doesn't cover IVF treatmentfor wounded vets, and so the young couple are paying for this themselves. Congress passed a law in 1992 that led tothe Veterans Administration banning coverage of any in vitro fertilization services. Thatmeans that for an estimated 1,800 veterans.
Like Jason, they will also have to spend tensof thousands of dollars to get pregnant and like Jason, they will also have to spend tensof thousands of dollars to get pregnant and start a family. Senator Patty Murray wants that to change.This Democrat from Washington state sits on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, andshe wrote a bill that would lift the VA's IVF ban. But for six years, her efforts havebeen blocked. SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), Washington: To me,when someone goes off to fight a war for us, a man or a woman, we have an obligation asthe country to make them whole again, as whole as we can. And, certainly, having a family,having children, having that kind of quality.
Of life that a lot of Americans want is somethingthat we should make sure they get. of life that a lot of Americans want is somethingthat we should make sure they get. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Why is it that the VA doesn'tpay for these services now? SEN. PATTY MURRAY: I have been told that itis because of the cost. I believe that that shouldn't be an issue. This is something thatis a cost of war and that, as Americans, we should do what we can for the people who servedour country. So, the stated reason is money, but I'm skeptical. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: What do you think the issueit really is? SEN. PATTY MURRAY: It is hard to get anyoneto say anything past cost. I would say to.