After participating in Advocacy Day on Capital Hill with RESOLVE, the news that the Department of Veterans Affairs will finally begin covering costs for IVF and adoption for combat-wounded veterans struggling with infertility because of their injuries is a HUGE win! For all of those who were with us on Capital Hill that on May 11th – RESOLVE volunteers, physicians, patients seeking coverage-it’s wonderful to know our collective voices were heard.
The number of veteran families who seek this coverage for IVF or adoption is in the thousands and now hope is on the horizon for them to get the access to care they have desperately sought. President Obama signed a bill last week that allows the agency to pay the costs for the next two years from existing VA healthcare funds. The provision was authored by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who said she is continuing to push to fund the services permanently. Because of the widespread use of improvised explosive devices in combat zones, those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered greater rates of spinal cord and genital injuries than in past conflicts, leaving many veterans unable to conceive naturally. But for more than 24 years, the VA was banned from covering the costs of IVF by a law that Murray and others say is outdated. Because Murray’s provision was attached to an appropriations bill, she couldn’t actually lift the ban. Instead, this is a workaround because it authorizes the VA to use its existing funds. It will need for now to be reauthorized every two years.
Murray said she “won’t give up” on pressing to have the ban lifted. Meanwhile, the VA supports legislation that would establish IVF as part of the medical services it offers. “Our goal is to restore, to the greatest extent possible, the physical and mental capabilities of veterans with service-related injuries. The provision of assisted reproductive technologies would do that,” said Walinda West, a VA spokeswoman, in a statement. “It is important that we fully understand the needs of our veteran population, and fully incorporate the major scientific advances available today that can allow them to live a full life.”
If you are a veteran and are interesting in learning more about your fertility options & IVF, please contact us at (973) 322–8286 or by filling out our contact form.