LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- They are casualties of wa
r not often heard about: wounded soldiers who can no longer start a family.
Under its current policy, the Veterans' Administration does not assisting military families with in-vitro fertilization.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., calls the policy a disgrace, and is working to change that.
Thinking of coming home to family is what gets members of the military through deployments. But some of them return home wounded and unable to conceive.
Capt. Niall Kennedy is in a wheelchair with a spinal cord injury. His wife, Margeaux, is worried about him and their prospects of starting a family.
"I have the ER doctors looking at me, (saying,) 'We're just trying to keep your husband alive.' And I'm like, 'Oh, he'll be fine, but I need to make sure that I can be a mom one day, like this is my dream."'
Sarah and Sean Halsted found themselves in the same situation several years ago.
"I fell from a helicopter about 40 feet," said Air Force veteran Sean Halsted. "Shattered all vertebrae, became a spinal cord injury."
The couple chose in-vitro fertilization and conceived twins, but had to pay for the procedure themselves.
"We thankfully had the resources to be able to pursue in-vitro, and it was about $15,000," said Sarah Halsted.
The Kennedys don't have the same luxury.
"Right now, there's no way we can pay out of pocket," said Margeaux Kennedy.
And so without VA assistance, they'll remain a child-free couple, which Niall Kennedy believes is wrong for service people who sacrifice everything for their country.s
"Then the government will be executing a policy akin to a de facto enforced sterilization," he said.
Murray and Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., have bills in Congress that aim to change that.
"I decided it's time for America to do the right thing for these men and women," Murray said.
Murray says there are about 1,800 service people and veterans with these kinds of injuries. And with so many foot patrols in Afghanistan running across roadside bombs, she expects that number to climb.