Spanberger Backs Bill to Protect & Expand Access to IVF for America’s Veterans

The “Veteran Families Health Services Act” Would Codify Expanded IVF Access for Veterans & Improve Fertility Care Support for Servicemembers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today backed bicameral legislation to protect newly expanded access to in vitro fertilization (IVF) for Veterans and offer additional fertility care to U.S. active-duty servicemembers.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced expanded IVF services for Veterans — including providing the service to eligible unmarried Veterans, eligible Veterans in same-sex marriages, and Veterans who are not able to produce their own sperm or eggs due to service-connected injuries and health conditions.

The Spanberger-backed Veteran Families Health Services Act would codify these new changes under federal law. Additionally, this legislation would allow servicemembers to freeze and store their sperm or eggs — or other reproductive material — before deployment to a combat zone or hazardous duty assignment and after an injury or illness. The legislation would also expand adoption assistance at the VA and provide additional support to help servicemembers and Veterans find the best option for them.

“Particularly at a time when access to IVF is being threatened by extreme politicians and judges, those who sacrificed in service deserve to know that support will always be there. Injuries and exposures during service can tragically rob our servicemembers and Veterans of their ability to start a family on their own,” said Spanberger. “We must do all that we can to connect these heroes with the care and benefits they have earned — and that includes expanding and protecting their access to fertility treatments, like IVF. I will always work to protect the ability of every hopeful parent in Virginia and across our country to start or grow their family.”

The Spanberger-backed Veteran Families Health Services Act is supported by Paralyzed Veterans of America, Minority Veterans of America, the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), RESOLVE: the National Infertility Association, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Military Family Building Coalition, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Specifically, the Veteran Families Health Services Act would:

  • Allow servicemembers to freeze and store their gametes, or other reproductive material, before deployment to a combat zone or hazardous duty assignment and after an injury or illness.
  • Permanently authorize fertility treatment and counseling options, including IVF, to more Veterans and servicemembers and ensure that Veterans’ and servicemembers’ spouses, partners, and gestational surrogates are appropriately included in eligibility rules.
  • Allow Veterans and servicemembers to use gestational surrogates for covered IVF services.
  • Remove onerous burdens of proof that currently make it very difficult for many Veterans to access IVF services even when they do meet existing requirements.
  • Expand adoption assistance at the VA, providing more family-building options for Veterans with infertility.
  • Provide support for servicemembers and Veterans to navigate their fertility options, find a provider that meets their needs, and ensure continuity of care after a permanent change of duty-station or relocation.
  • Require the VA and DoD to facilitate research on the long-term reproductive health needs of veterans.

The Veteran Families Health Services Act is led in the U.S. House by U.S. Representatives Rick Larsen (D-WA-02) and Sara Jacobs (D-CA-51). The legislation is led in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

Click here for the full bill text.

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