Tag Archives: Spinal cord injury

SCI & Infertility: A Profile of Two Couples (who beat it)

Gone are the days of men with paralysis not being able to have their own children biologically. Modern-day medicine has changed the entire landscape of fertility for SCI men. From the use of advanced at-home vibration techniques to invitro-fertilization, there are options available and they work. It’s just a matter of finding the method that works best for a man’s severity of injury.

It also isn’t cheap (loans are available). Thousands of dollars can be spent by couples, and it often is met with success. But this isn’t always so. It’s best to go into the getting-pregnant process with a cautious heart and mind. With that said, here are two awesome SCI infertility success stories. Both men are quadriplegics from the US and neither, as you will discover, had an easy journey in getting their partner pregnant.

Dan Hammers

Dan hammer, a C4 quadriplegic living in Lake Charles, Louisiana, never thought he’d have a child of his own. He was paralyzed in 1992 in a diving accident at 19 years old. After his accident, he moved with his family from Chicago to Louisiana. And it was here where he met Kari.

They say good spouses are found at church, and this is exactly where Dan met Kari. Soon after meeting, Dan and Kari were engaged, and were married in 2002. And like any married couple, they felt the desire to have a child. They knew it wasn’t going to be easy, so they began to find a fertility doc with spinal cord injury experience.

Where they live in Louisiana there were no specialists nearby, so they had to travel to Houston, Texas to see a fertility doctor at TIRR Memorial Hermann’s Outpatient Clinic – Dr. John Bertini to be exact. They started the process in 2009 and it wasn’t until 2012 when they finally got pregnant. They first underwent two failed IUI (Intrauterine Inseminations; where doctors help inseminate the woman using the man’s sperm).

Next, they decided to try IFV (in-vitro fertilization). The first time they tried it it failed, but the second time it was successful. Dan and Claire finally got pregnant January 2012 with a little girl. Gianna Claire Hammer was born on August 14, 2012, and as you can see from the photo above, she’s adorable. Congrats to The Hammers!

Ryan Buck

Lauren and Ryan’s story is a bit different. In Minnesota, the couple met in 2005 when Ryan was able-bodied. They had a whirlwind romance and within two years they were engaged. Before their wedding however, Ryan was involved in a snowmobile accident that left him a T5 paraplegic. Their wedding was planned for September 20th, 2008, but after his injury, they decided to postpone their wedding until 2010.

After getting married, they tried to get pregnant. Living near the world renowned Mayo Clinic, Lauren and Ryan decided to see a fertility specialist there. Unfortunately, they did not have success. After two failed IVF attempts, they were scheduled for a third but then the Mayo Clinic canceled because they discovered Lauren had uterine polyps (which makes it difficult to get pregnant).

They went back to the clinic for one more try, but after a third failed attempt they decided to try a new clinic in the Twin Cities – with Dr. Randal Corfman at the Midwest Center for Reproductive Health in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Finally, they found the fertility success they were praying for with Dr. Corfman, and after only one IVF attempt, they got pregnant April 2017. Lauren gave birth to their son, Silas Ryan, in January 2018.

Follow The Buck’s: Adventures with Heels & Wheels

Getting pregnant after a SCI may seem like something that is out of reach, but it not so! If you have a stable financial background, there are medical loans available to help pay for fertility treatments. Check out Prosper Health here for more information. And remember, adoption is another beautiful option that many SCI couples also consider.

Guest Blogger: “Am I Still Tall?” by Jan Scheuermann

Guest post writer Jan Scheuermann posing with an exoskeleton she moved with her mind in clinical trials at the University of Pittsburgh.

I liked being tall. Sure, it was more challenging as a kid, standing out among all my classmates and towering over most of the boys. Finding clothes that fit was difficult, but it could be done. Mom insisted I not slouch, and I did not.

As soon as I turn 21, I joined the Golden Triangle Tall Club, the Pittsburgh branch of TCI (Tall Clubs International). Finally, I stood head-to-head with other tall women, who wore high heels and showed me, through example, how elegant a tall woman could be. The tall men made me feel short; they were at least 6’2”. What a novel experience!

Soon, I loved being tall. I wore high heels when I could, found sources for clothes that not only fit, but that flattered me as a tall woman. I got attention from tall men, and I dated several of them, getting a crick in my neck when I slow-danced with them, and not minding a bit.

My husband and I met through TCI. We married, had two tall children, and still attended family-friendly tall club events. I contributed occasional humorous columns to our local tall club newsletter.

When I was 36, my legs slowly stopped working. I went from standing tall to walking a bit hunched over a cane, then a walker, then finally sitting in a wheelchair. Now, at 56, I have been a quadriplegic ( due to a weird spinal disease) for the last 15 years, unable to move below my neck. Instead of holding my head high at 6 feet with no heels, I sit 4 feet tall. Or 4 feet short.

I’ve seen the world from two separate places. On my feet, I saw over crowds, knew what was in front of me on a busy sidewalk, and saw other adults face-to-face. Except short people; them, I had to look down to. That was my only choice – I couldn’t bend my knees to talk to them. That would’ve been rude.

Now, no more seeing over crowds for me. I have no idea how busy the sidewalk is in front of me. And I look other adults straight in the stomach or chest. Although I know it’s considered rude for people to bend down to talk to me, usually I wish they would. Often, I simply cannot hear them.

Of course, I preferred being tall. Understand I’m not complaining – just commenting. It is what it is. Not only have I adjusted to life as a quad, but I’m thriving. I get around in a wheelchair that I drive with my chin, and I have a wide circle of friends and family who support and love me.

But the question remains:  Am I still tall?

I still need to buy tall clothes to fit my arms. My shoes are still size 12. But I have lost all the other perks that come with being tall

I’ve decided that I am tall in length, but not in height anymore.

I cannot stand tall,so I will sit tall. I will strive to stand tall metaphorically; to stand tall in my deeds. I choose to face life with a positive attitude, to find humor in my situation, and to be there to support my children and my loved ones when they need me.

Height can be a matter of attitude. I am tall.

Jan Scheuermann made headlines around the world when she moved a robotic arm with her mind in 2012. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband.