VIVA Sweethearts Celebrate Valentine’s Day | Bob Woodruff Foundation

VIVA Sweethearts Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Author Image

Since 2017, Veterans In Vitro InitiAtive (VIVA) has helped our veterans and their families welcome 52 babies through in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment.  With generous support from EMD Serono, VIVA connects veterans experiencing infertility with the resources and financial support they need to start or expand their families.

This Valentine’s Day, we’re showing some love and celebrating the 23 VIVA babies born in 2022.

Welcoming Babies

While on active duty, Stephen endured combat wounds and toxic burn pit exposure and, later, experienced infertility. To achieve their goal of starting a family, Elizabeth and Stephen chose in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and, in researching options for financial support, they discovered VIVA. In August 2021, the couple applied for funding and received approval the following month. After a successful pregnancy resulting from IVF therapy, Elizabeth and Stephen welcomed their son in October 2022. “The VIVA team has been incredible,” said Stephen. “Their whole process to approve was very quick. I think it was all done within a week.” 

Offering Hope to Couples, Families

The Hanna family overcame a miscarriage and cancer to welcome their second child, Ruby. Before beginning his chemotherapy treatment, Josh and Steph shared with a nurse that they hoped to conceive. The nurse directed the couple to a local fertility center, where Josh made a sperm deposit before treatment. After receiving a clean bill of health, the Hannas wanted to expand their family through IVF. While the VA would cover much of the procedure, the Hannas would have to pay thousands to transport Josh’s sperm from Colorado. “The VA suggested we check out VIVA,” says Josh. The couple submitted their information, and the VIVA coordinator, Ann, responded in less than a week. “Ann told us to send her the bill. It was that simple,” they said. “VIVA offered us a level of hope and support that we didn’t think was possible.”

Expanding Families

After a friend referred them to VIVA, the Smiths received the help they needed to bring Adele into their family. During a 20-minute conversation with the VIVA coordinator, Leigh and Jackson learned about the program. A day and a half later, the Smith’s grant was approved. “I was so shocked that we were having trouble conceiving,” says Leigh. “No one thinks it will happen to them. Usually, this kind of support is wrapped up in lots of red tape, but the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s VIVA was ready as soon as we needed them. It allowed us to make a plan and keep moving forward. That felt invaluable.”

Supporting Couples on Fertility Journeys 

With generous support from EMD Serono, VIVA connects veterans experiencing infertility with the resources and financial support they need to start or expand their family. EMD Serono has been a pioneer in the fertility space for 25 years, helping couples at every step of their fertility journey. The organization was there for the first IVF baby and for over five million babies since. 

There are options for military families who need fertility treatment financial support. EMD Serono’s Compassionate Corps program helps eligible, uninsured, medically retired veterans (or their spouses) with service-related injuries affecting their fertility. See if you’re eligible for support

For more information about how the Bob Woodruff Foundation helps military families facing infertility, visit our VIVA homepage.

Some families’ names were changed or withheld at their request.