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Help Veterans Win Their Fight for Fertility Rights

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Sponsor: The Veterans Site

Join us in urging expanded fertility coverage for all veterans, regardless of their service-related health status.

Veterans and active-duty service members dedicate their lives to protecting our nation, facing challenges and sacrifices most of us will never know. Yet, when they face one of life's most personal battles—infertility—they often find themselves without the support they desperately need.

The current VA policy restricts fertility treatment coverage, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), only to those whose infertility issues are directly linked to their service1. This leaves countless veterans unable to pursue treatments that are not just medically recommended, but essential for starting families.

The Reality of Veteran Infertility

Infertility among veterans is a pressing issue, with rates significantly higher than the general population2. Many veterans experience health issues as a result of their service, which can contribute to fertility problems. Despite the profound need, the financial burden of treatments, which can soar above $20,000, is often too much for many to bear1. This is not just a health issue; it’s about the right to have a family.

Though recent policy changes have made strides toward inclusivity—extending eligibility to unmarried and LGBTQ veterans—the requirement that infertility must be service-related still stands1.

The Proposal for Change

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has proposed a crucial amendment to TRICARE, which would extend fertility treatment coverage to all active-duty service members and their spouses struggling with infertility—regardless of whether their condition is service-related.

This policy change would require an initial investment that is a mere fraction of the military's annual budget, with profound implications for the well-being of our service members and their families3.

How You Can Help

The path to policy change is through collective action. Our veterans fought for us—it’s time we fight for them. Sign the petition urging the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Veterans Affairs to adopt the proposed changes to TRICARE. Together, we can ensure that our service members have the support they need to build their families and secure a better future.

More on this issue:

  1. Desiree D'Iorio, American Homefront (1 May 2024), "A new VA policy covers fertility treatments for more vets, but some are still excluded."
  2. Maite Amorebieta, Chloe Atkins and Courtney Kube, NBC News (9 May 2024), "Military service members and veterans fight for fertility treatments, IVF."
  3. American Society for Reproductive Medicine (2024), "ASRM military families, infertility, & national security."
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The Petition:

To the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Veterans Affairs,

We, the undersigned, are writing to express our strong support for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's proposal to amend TRICARE. This amendment would significantly broaden fertility treatment coverage, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), for all active-duty service members and their spouses struggling with infertility.

The need for broader fertility coverage among our veterans and active-duty service members is critical and urgent. Infertility affects many within our military community at rates higher than the general population, due to the unique and demanding nature of military service. The physical and psychological stresses, coupled with exposure to environmental hazards, can lead to reproductive challenges that impact our service members and their families deeply. Current limitations on fertility treatment coverage add financial and emotional burdens, forcing many to forego the possibility of starting families.

The proposed expansion in coverage is both a necessary and sustainable investment. With an initial projected budget expense of $260 million in the first year—merely 0.5% of the 2021 Defense Health Agency Budget and 0.03% of the 2022 Department of Defense Budget—it represents a modest outlay in comparison to the overall military budget. The continuation of this coverage would require only an additional $144 million annually, a minor fraction of the projected US military budget, to meet the needs of those diagnosed with infertility.

Expanding fertility benefits as proposed would not only rectify a significant gap in our healthcare provision but would also affirm our nation's commitment to supporting the family lives of those who serve. Ensuring comprehensive fertility coverage helps in retaining top talent in the armed forces and enhances the overall well-being and morale of our military families.

Implementing this policy is a step toward a brighter and more supportive future for all members of our armed forces. By addressing the reproductive health and family-building needs of our service members and their spouses, we acknowledge and honor their sacrifices with actions that uphold our values and offer tangible support.

We urge the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Veterans Affairs to adopt the proposed changes to TRICARE. By doing so, you affirm that the men and women who serve our nation will not have to fight alone in their personal battles to build families.


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