Updated January 3, 2017
The U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives passed the MilCon-VA Appropriations bill for FY 2017 which included an amendment to allocate funds to the Veterans Administration to offer IVF to wounded Veterans and provides for adoption assistance to wounded Veterans. The appropriation will allow the VA to offer IVF to wounded Veterans for the first time ever. The passage of this bill signifies a tremendous victory for RESOLVE and its partners, and especially for its advocates, who have advocated for this change at every Advocacy Day for the past four years. Please send a message to your two Senators and your Representative to express your gratitude for this change in policy that helps our Veterans build their family.
On February 11, 2015, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2015, S 469. The bill will allow the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide reproductive services, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), to service members, veterans, and their families who have suffered catastrophic wounds of war that prevent them from starting families. The Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2015 would expand the current fertility services offered to service members and their families by DoD, and end the ban on in vitro fertilization services at the VA.
Though DoD can provide IVF treatment, too many service members are excluded from eligibility for this and other treatments. The VA is completely barred from providing IVF services because of an outdated regulation. Senator Murray’s bill would expand VA and DoD’s current fertility treatment and counseling offerings, and empower severely injured service members and veterans to start families when the time is right for them. The bill would lift VA’s IVF ban and expand Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) treatments beyond DoD’s current policy limitations. Senator Murray’s bill would also provide access to fertility treatment for spouses, allow VA to offer adoption assistance, and make permanent the highly successful child care pilot program in VA.
Through the Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act, veterans have a chance at the family they always dreamed of. For many wounded veterans, assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF may be their only hope of ever having a biological child with their spouse/partner.
On July 22nd, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), removed her bill, S 469, the Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2015, from being voted on by the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. The bill was scheduled for a 2:30 PM ET vote and then should have moved to the full Senate for a vote. At the last minute a member of the Committee offered several changes (in the form of amendments) that RESOLVE and Senator Murray cannot support and that has stopped the bill from moving forward. Click here to learn more about what happened.
On July 29, 2015, U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (D-WA2), a member of the House Committee on Armed Services, introduced the Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2015 H.R. 3365. This bill is a companion bill to S 469. This bill has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Health.