For U.S. Armed Services personnel and veterans who are experiencing infertility related to their military service, a new bill under Congressional review offers hope. The legislation introduced in February 2019 by Washington Senator Patty Murray would require the U.S. Department of Defense to provide ill, wounded, or injured service members and veterans with up to three in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles, sperm and egg donation benefits as well as the use of a surrogate when their fertility struggles stem from or relate to their service in the armed forces.
The Women Veterans and Families Health Services bill (S. 319) comes on the heels of similar successful legislation in 2016 which provided seriously-injured veterans access to fertility services. The new bill, if passed by Congress, would also include provisions covering sperm and egg retrieval from severely wounded servicemembers, giving those servicemembers’ families the chance to use the specimens for reproductive purposes when the servicemember had previously consented to such use.
The new bill would also require the Department of Defense to pay for service members’ freezing their sperm or eggs before being deployed to combat zones. Service members would also be able to rely on government-paid storage of their sperm or eggs for up to a full year after they leave the military.
These provisions could potentially help armed services personnel and veterans of both sexes, but for female service members, the new bill would give them more control over when they have children.
This would be an expansion of current benefits, which already include certain “basic” fertility treatments including hormone therapy, diagnostics, and corrective surgery. There is already coverage for IVF in certain limited circumstances.
There is no guarantee that this legislation will be passed, but it’s a bill we will be watching closely. To learn more about the services we offer for individuals and couples struggling with infertility, contact us today.