Wounded Veterans Will Finally Have IVF and Adoption Costs Covered

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A number of veterans have suffered from infertility as a result of injuries sustained while defending our country, but in spite of that, for the past two decades a regressive law has denied them access to IVF treatments. Now, finally, that’s been corrected.

(Related: Wounded Veterans Are Getting Screwed By a Regressive Law Denying Them Access to IVF Treatments)

According to the Washington Post, the Department of Veterans Affairs is finally going to be able to cover IVF and adoption costs for veterans, thanks to a bill signed last week by President Obama and long championed by Washington Senator Patty Murray. Thanks to the bill, for the next two years the V.A. will cover IVF and adoption costs for veterans who have been experiencing infertility as a result of combat injuries. Unfortunately, it’s only assured for the next two years.

Senator Murray says she’s still fighting to get the law changed so that these services can be funded permanently. She’s been working on this issue for a long time, and it still isn’t actually finished yet. This victory was achieved by adding a workaround to an appropriations bill, which allows the V.A. to use some of its existing healthcare funds to pay for IVF, but it will have to be re-approved every two years. This isn’t so much a joyful victory as a two-year window of opportunity for veterans to access IVF. Still, that’s big news to a lot of servicemembers and their families who have been wanting children and didn’t know if they would ever be able to have them.

The law that is causing all the problems dates back to 1992, when conservative opposition to reproductive assistance led Congress to specifically ban the V.A. from paying for IVF for veterans, even veterans who became infertile as a result of injuries sustained during combat. (That is not uncommon. In addition to spinal and genital injuries that cause fertility problems, traumatic injuries to the head and neck can cause hormone production issues that render people infertile.) The V.A. does not like that law at all, and wants to add IVF to the services it offers veterans.

“Our goal is to restore, to the greatest extent possible, the physical and mental capabilities of veterans with service-connected injuries. The provision of assisted reproductive technologies would do that,” said V.A. spokesperson Walinda West to the Post.

This is not a perfect victory, but it will be a huge deal to the families it helps in the next two years. Hopefully by then there will be a permanent solution.