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VFW SUPPORTS EXPANDING FERTILITY TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR VETERANS

'NOW IS THE TIME FOR LAWMAKERS TO CORRECT THAT OVERSIGHT.'

June 13, 2016

WASHINGTON — The nation’s largest and oldest major combat veterans’ organization sent a letter to Congress today in strong support of a provision to expand fertility treatment options for veterans who lost their ability to have children as a direct result of their service-connected injuries.

The letter was addressed to House and Senate conference committee leadership as they begin negotiating the fiscal year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. The provision to expand fertility treatment options is only included in the Senate’s version of the annual funding bill. The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States wants House conferees to adopt it, too.

“The widespread use of improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan rendered thousands of male and female service members incapable of having children without medical assistance,” wrote VFW Washington Office Executive Director Robert E. Wallace. “And when they seek fertility treatments from the VA, they are told such services are limited, to include being prohibited from providing certain established fertility treatments, such as In Vitro Fertilization.”

Wallace said the Senate version of the annual MilCon-VA appropriations bill would end this injustice by authorizing the VA to provide fertility treatments and counseling, as well as assisted reproductive technology. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that some 3,500 female veterans and another 3,000 spouses of veterans could use these health services if they were available.

“It is unacceptable that the only options these veterans have are to either go into deep debt to start a family or forgo having children altogether,” said Wallace. “The VA is prohibited from treating their service-connected infertility because of current law. Now is the time for lawmakers to correct that oversight.”