Proposed Bill Allows VA to Provide In-Vitro Fertilizationby Elizabeth MacDonald
The families of our military men and women are typically the force that drives them. They are also an integral part of transitioning a soldier back into the community after he or she returns from a tour of duty. Not only are our soldiers faced with the possibility of death, injury and psychological problems while fighting for our freedom, but certain injuries may leave them unable to conceive children naturally. As we all know, in-vitro fertilization is the act of surgically implanting fertilized eggs into the lining of the uterus. It is a very expensive procedure. One in which most insurances do not cover. Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington, has proposed a bill that would enable the Veterans Affairs Department to offer in vitro fertilization services to veterans with wounds and injuries that prevent them from naturally conceiving children. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the legislation last month, and it is now part of the Veterans and Military Construction Bill that is working its way through the full Senate.
Murray's amendment to the massive Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill would provide for $88 million ($18 in fiscal 2017 and $70 million in 2018) for fertility treatments for veterans and their spouses if the veteran has a service-connected condition making it impossible to have children without the use of the treatment. Murray, who has been advocating for IVF and other family services for veterans since at least 2012, said last month she was proud that her amendment came out of the committee with strong bipartisan support. The vote was 23-7 in favor of the amendment. "This amendment is about fulfilling our promise to the military families who we ask to sacrifice and serve our country on our behalf," Murray said afterward. "I know this is just the first hurdle. I will be fighting to see this through to the end so this country can keep up its commitment to care for our veterans and their spouses who dream of having a family."Murray has been the voice behind the previous bills as well. In February 2015, she pushed for a bill that still remains in committee; it would grant authorization and funding for veterans and families to be assisted with adoption services, third-party donor and surrogacy as options if wounded and left unable to conceive naturally. RECORD YOUR BABY'S HEARTBEAT IN AN ADORABLE STUFFED ANIMAL! The Joint Theatre Trauma Registry recorded 1,525 genitourinary injuries between 2005-2010, which can impair the physical, reproductive and mental health of the wounded. In 2010, 12.7% of all battlefield injuries were recorded as relating to the GU system. Veterans have experienced pelvic, abdominal, urogenital and spinal cord injuries, all of which have left them unable to have children after being attacked by roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices. It is time that our soldiers are granted the ability to have the families they would have been able to create without injuries caused while at battle. This proposed bill would do just that. Supporters are rallying behind the legislation. A dozen veteran groups and support organizations are leading the movement with letters and statements to the media. The more that this is heard, the higher the chances of it being passed. The coalition includes the Disabled American Veterans, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Blue Star Families, Military Officers Association of America, National Military Family Association, Paralyzed Veterans of America, The Veterans Health Council, Vietnam Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project, Bob Woodruff Foundation, Elizabeth Dole Foundation and the Quality of Life Foundation. "Much is said about honoring the sacrifice that veterans make for our families," the groups wrote. "With your vote, you can demonstrate that commitment, making a real and fundamental difference in the lives of veterans and their families." We couldn’t agree more. Each family deserves to hear the heartbeat of their own child, if they choose to have one.
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