Thousands of service members have suffered a genitourinary injury, resulting in the loss of, or compromised ability, to have a child. Among those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, genital injuries, most of which were a result of ground-based explosive mechanisms, were higher than any previous wars. These injuries result in medical and psychological trauma that can affect a veteran’s ability to procreate.
Recognizing the need for increased assisted reproductive technology options, in September 2016, Congress granted a temporary authorization for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to veterans with a service-connected condition that prevents the conception of a pregnancy.
VA began offering IVF services in January 2017, and in September 2018, they were reauthorized for another two years. In drafting the rules for the program, VA anticipated recurring authorization by Congress; so, the Department stipulated IVF may continue to be provided if Congress approves its funding through the annual appropriations process. VA’s current temporary authority prohibits the use of donated gametes, which may present a barrier to some veterans whose service-connected injury prevents them from producing their own genetic material. This means many injured veterans are ineligible for IVF through VA.
We need Congress to pass the Veterans Infertility Treatment Act of 2023 (H.R. 544). This legislation would greatly expand and improve access to assisted reproductive technology by:
- Making infertility care, including assisted reproductive technology (like IVF), part of the medical services provided by VA to any veteran and/or partner who needs infertility care to achieve a pregnancy.
- Allowing IVF for up to three successful pregnancies or six attempted cycles.
- Repealing the ban on the use of donated gametes and embryos.