Service members who can’t have children as a result of service-related injuries should not be prevented from seeking infertility treatments, according to U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA).
Murray reintroduced legislation last month seeking to repeal a 1992 Congressional ban that prohibits the Department of Veterans Affairs from covering the costs of certain fertility services.
“It’s past time Congress took this outdated ban off the books and give veterans peace of mind that these decisions are theirs and theirs alone,” Murray said in a release. “We promise to take care of veterans long after the war is over and allowing them to fulfill their dream of having a family is a big part of that promise.”
If approved, the Women Veterans and Families Health Services bill would give veterans access to egg and sperm donation services. It would also mandate that the Department of Defense give service members the option of freezing their eggs and sperm before deploying to a combat zone. The donations would be stored for up to a year after they have left the service.
The DoD would also have to implement a policy for retrieving the eggs or sperm from seriously injured troops whose fertility or lives are at stake due to injury or illness under the proposal.
A measure similar to Murray’s was recently introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Rick Larsen (D-WA).
IVF treatment costs are currently covered by the Defense Department for service members who have suffered urogenital trauma or have undergone cancer treatments that may cause infertility. Service members or their families who experience infertility that is not the result of a combat injury can undergo IVF treatments at six military treatment facilities for about $5,000 per cycle.
In the past, Murray succeeded in passing legislation that made infertility treatment and adoption options available to military families.