Thoughts about the future inevitably run through our minds. “Where will I end up in life?” “What career should I pursue?” “When will I have a child?”

These thoughts are normal, but for individuals with spinal cord injuries, they can be different.

For folks with these injuries, what many take for granted can easily become the improbable. This is especially true for wounded Veterans where injuries can come in the form of both physical and mental.

For Veteran Peter Shaver, the question of becoming a parent changed dramatically while serving in the Navy. Just days before his third deployment, he was involved in a car accident that left him wheelchair bound.

Work your whole life and then “What Now?”

“After my accident, I didn’t know what was going to happen to all those plans. You work for something your whole life and then that happens and you’re kind of like, ‘What now?’” Shaver asked.

“I knew I wanted a family a long time ago.”

At South Texas VA, Shaver was informed there is still a possibility to have children, according to Dr. Michelle Trbovich, of the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Center.

“One thing spinal cord injury patients always say is, ‘I won’t be able to have a family,’ and that is not true.” said Trbovich. “This can happen. Veterans just need to be in the right center with the right experts to make it happen.”

South Texas VA is the right center with the right experts for the job.

Fertility treatment tailored for spinal cord injury

At the SCI center, Veterans can get fertility treatment specifically tailored for spinal cord injury patients and have it customized to the level of injury they have.

South Texas VA’s SCI center is the only medical center in San Antonio that uses fertility treatments that generate higher success rates, such as using an electric probe process.

“99.9% of the time, the electric probe device works. We have the resources here,” Trbovich explained.

Shaver and his wife fell into the category of 99.9% success. After undergoing treatment, he and his wife were able to have a daughter and the family could not be happier.

“I knew I wanted a family a long time ago,” Shaver said. “It was a pretty amazing feeling when it finally worked.”

Doctor’s husband has spinal cord injury

For Trbovich, the process is not just a professional matter, but a personal one as well.

“My husband has a spinal cord injury,” she explained. “We now have three kids using some of these procedures. To be able to give life through these devices but also be able to give it to others brings me great joy.”

Success stories like this come from individuals with a passion for both where they work and what they do.

“This gives me tons of life,” Trbovich exclaimed.

By Joseph Greiner is a public affairs intern at the South Texas VA

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Published on May. 19, 2022

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One Comment

  1. Arnold Cabral June 15, 2022 at 2:58 pm

    How many People and Veterans believe that they have a Dentist that knows how to put in G4implants?

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