By Dawn Zangerle
When my husband and I got married, kids seemed like a far distant venture. We knew we both wanted them some day but we were in no rush to start.
After two years of marriage and no pregnancies, I thought I was a rock star. I was that good. On our way home from Christmas 2007, I looked at my husband and told him I was ready to start our family. He agreed; we were both on the same page. That page had a baby on it: our first child.
Now if you’ve done the math, that was almost nine years ago. But we have yet to have our first child. Before you start to worry, the first three years, we just did a let’s-see-what-happens kind of deal. We tried when I thought I maybe ovulating, but I didn’t know for sure. I wasn’t doing any Ovulating Prediction Kits (OPKs) or Temping (taking your temperature to track when you’re ovulating). At the end of the third year, I knew something was wrong: I should have gotten pregnant at least once.
We started with my husband; they always start with the man. They found issues with him that took an additional three years to straighten out. With his frequent deployments and TDYs it was impossible to get things done. Finally, after a round of Clomid, he was good to go and still is.
He was gone another year for training and when we PCSed, it was time to get things rolling. I started with blood test, a surgery, a round of medication, and amazingly, I became pregnant. Unfortunately, the pregnancy ending with a miscarriage. More medication and now, after eight years, we are starting our first IVF.
The maze of infertility treatment can be trying. Luckily, I’ve found some amazing resources for military member and their families that can save not only some money, but some sanity too.
Here are my top 5 resources to take advantage of starting today:
The one and only place that I’ve heard of giving free IUI and IVF to military members who have sustained injuries that have affected their fertility. Yes, you read that right. Dr. Kiltz who is the owner of CNY Fertility in Syracuse wants to give back to those who sacrifice everything. He’s even lobbying to have a 24- year- old law changed that prohibited the VA from covering IVF. (So let’s cross our fingers and if you’re so inclined, ask your representative to support him. You can find your representative here.)
For everyone else who needs treatment, CNY Infertility has the best prices for IUI and IVF. They also offer a generous military discount. No matter where you live, you can have treatment because they have a team that handles all out-of-state patients–a great alternative if you are on a tight budget.
The Compassionate Care Program is a patient assistance program that provides income eligible patients with savings on some of your medications for IUI and IVF. Depending on your financial need, you can get between 25% to 75% off (I qualified for 25%). The medications this qualifies for are Gonal-f®, OVIDREL®, and CETROTIDE®. You may be able to get TRICARE to cover your Ovidrel and Certrotide by talking to several people and finding the right person to approve it. But TRICARE absolutely does not cover any stimulating medication such as Gona-f.
3. IVF at a Military Facility
The military offers IVF at a reduced cost and four of their facilities. Those facilities are:
- Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio
- Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu
- Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
- Naval Medical Center in San Diego
Although you will have to come out of pocket since TRICARE does not cover IVF, the cost may be lower than what you may find at a civilian fertility doctor in your area. There are some cons to consider, though.
There is usually a considerable waiting list for each facility. Since these are the only four places for military families to have IVF in the country, you can imagine there are a lot of members waiting for their turn. Depending on the active duty member’s commander, you may be able to get permissive TDY or not. Be prepared to have to use your own leave and pay for your own travel expenses.
All and all, this may be a great option for you when you weigh the pros and cons. I do have a friend who has done this and had great results.
If adoption is an avenue you want to travel, it’s fortune that adoption agencies have come to realized how valuable military families can be to babies and children who need good homes. The DOD gives 21 days of adoption leave on top of helping pay for some of your adoption costs. They realize adoption is a long process and can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 over a long haul. A subsidy of $2,000 per child (up to $5,000 per calendar year for multiple adoptions) is available to military families who want to adopt. You will be reimbursed this subsidy once the adoption has been finalized.
Resolve is a nonprofit organization with a nation wide network mandated to promote reproductive health and provide access to all families both men and women who are experience infertility or other reproductive disorders. I’ve linked above their dedicated page for military families and veterans who are looking for resources. Some of the ones I’ve mentioned above are also included in this list.
Besides military resources they have a wealth of information on infertility and even ways to mentally deal with your reproductive issues. I honestly recommend it to anyone who is going through infertility issues. One to share for sure.
Do you have a resource to share that I haven’t mentioned?
Dawn is military wife, blogger, and Youtuber originally from New Jersey. Her husband, Evan, along with their adorable toy poodle, Leo, are now living in beautiful, sunny, Florida. Her two passions in life right now are helping military families, and men and women who are dealing with their own personal infertility issues. You can follow her journey and her lifestyle blog at The Divine life Blog or through her social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.