Ryan and Alana Matayka are just five-months-old, but they've already made history. The twins are the first children born via in vitro fertilization that was paid for by a new Tricare benefit. The benefit covers infertility treatment for severely injured service members.
The twins' father, Army Staff Sgt. Ed Matayka, lost both legs above the knee and injured his spinal cord when the vehicle in which he was riding hit a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on July 2, 2010.
Little Ryan Matayka is named after the driver of the vehicle, Spc. Ryan Grady, who was killed in the attack that injured Ed Matayka.
In the past, Tricare never covered assisted reproductive technologies like IVF. However, as of April 3, 2012, Tricare has made an exception for certain cases:
Assisted reproductive services may be available to service members who have sustained serious or severe illness or injury while on active duty that led to the loss of their natural reproductive ability including (but not limited to) those with neurological, physiological, and/or anatomical injuries.
Ed Matayka's wife Karen underwent in vitro fertilization at the San Antonio Military Medical Center, and became pregnant with the twins in September 2012.
Maria Guerrero, with the San Antonio Military Medical Center’s department of clinical operations, told The Military Times:
“We broke ground here with them.”
As Home Post previously reported, more than 1,800 troops have suffered wounds in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that have made having a baby the old-fashioned way impossible without medical assistance.