AUSTIN (KXAN) — LaMeka Grayson survived 24 years in the Army, three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, four miscarriages and a divorce. Single at the age of 44, she wanted children but had medical issues to overcome. Thanks though to medical advances and a military discount, this was a Veterans Day the proud mother of two could really celebrate.
“I call them my million dollar babies,” LaMeka laughs. She brought Nadia and Lyric down from Killeen to say “hi” to everyone at the Texas Fertility Center, and then take the girls for some fun at Zilker Park. She had known that with a blocked fallopian tube the odds had been against her ever conceiving. “As a soldier we are always taught to go above and beyond, to take on new challenges. So I knew the only reason I wouldn’t have children is if I stopped trying.”
Without insurance for it, in vitro fertilization is expensive, approximately $12,000 per cycle attempt, and it may require multiple attempts. But the Texas Fertility Center offers discounts to all military, active or retired. It made all the difference for LaMeka, “Oh gosh yes. In vitro is very expensive when you’re doing it on your own and you don’t have coverage.”
Dr. Anthony Propst, a specialist at the center and himself a retired Air Force colonel, explained LaMeka also had her years working against her, “Age is the number one factor affecting fertility. The fertile range for women ranges from the teenage years to the early forties.”
At her age, LaMeka would have had a one in five chance of a cycle producing pregnancy, but thanks to recent use of biopsy to test embryos for chromosomes, rather than relying on the eye test, doctors say her chances tripled to 60 percent probability. Nadia was born in July of 2013, and Lyric was born in May of 2014. LaMeka retired from the Army that October. She was still left with two viable embryos and knew what she wanted to do, “I did not want them destroyed. I said hey, if I could give this joy that I have to allow another couple to experience the same thing, why not pass it on? Every day is now a new adventure, everyday is something special, and always a smile.”
Taking a closer look at in vitro fertilization, many insurance policies do not cover it, some do. Texas is one of fifteen states that mandate coverage, but there are conditions and strings attached. The patient must be covered under a group health plan. The eggs must be fertilized by a spouse. The patient must have a history of infertility going back at lest five years and the patient must have been unable to achieve pregnancy through less costly methods.