By Kathy Walsh
Editor’s note: Photos from the visit were added to the bottom of this story on Tuesday.
DENVER (CBS4) – A paralyzed veteran and his fiancé will be in Washington, D.C. this week fighting to have a family. They need an expensive fertility treatment in order to have children, but Veterans Administration health benefits don’t cover the procedure.
The Colorado couple will be lobbying lawmakers for change.
“I want a family, we want a family more than anything,” Tyler Wilson told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.
His marriage to Crystal Black is set for July 1, but the two are already in the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF). It is the only way the couple can conceive.
Army Cpl. Tyler Wilson explained that on May 3, 2005, “It was raining bullets.” He was on a rescue mission in Afghanistan. He was hit by four bullets. One pierced his spine.
“It was like a light switch went out and I couldn’t feel anything from the waist down,” Wilson said.
He came home to Colorado to cope with the bullet still in his body. In 2013, he met Black, a therapist, who taught him adaptive sports. They fell in love and long for children.
“Tyler and I don’t have $40,000 that we can use at this,” said Black.
She says that’s their cost for one try at IVF. Wilson’s VA health benefits don’t cover it.
“The bullet he sustained in Afghanistan is the only reason we have to go through IVF,” said Black.
The two have grants and a GoFundMe page. Their fertility doctors give injured veterans a 50 percent discount, but they still need $14,000.
“I find it reprehensible,” said Dr. Eric Surrey, Medical Director at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. “These are individuals who have given their bodies and been injured in the service of their country.”
Wilson and Black will plead with lawmakers in Washington to pass legislation to cover IVF for vets like Wilson.
“We want to be able to have the family that we deserve, that Tyler deserves,” said Black.
Colorado U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman issued this statement: “We owe our veterans not only our thanks, we owe them the care they have earned. I’m honored to cosponsor legislation that will provide IVF coverage to our veterans injured in the line of duty.”
Coffman is a Marine Corps combat veteran.
Photos From The Visit