News Releases

Today, the U.S. Senate approved a legislative package that includes the short-term CR and Murray’s IVF provision 

Provision allows VA to cover IVF for veterans for the first time in decades

Murray: “I’m now more encouraged than ever that Congress will do the right thing for our military families, and finally allow VA to cover the cost of fertility services”

(Washington, D.C.) — Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), released the following statement after the U.S. Senate approved a legislative package that includes the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017 and the short-term continuing resolution (CR). Murray’s provision in the MilCon VA bill allows the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to cover the costs of assisted reproductive technology for veterans with service-related injuries. Sen. Murray has been fighting to change this policy since 2012. The legislative package moves to the U.S. House.

“Our country makes a promise to veterans to take care of them long after their service is over. Yet for more than 20 years, because of politicians’ personal beliefs, this country has denied veterans with service-related injuries the one thing that could help them realize their dreams of having a family,” Senator Murray said. “I was encouraged to see so many Republicans join Democrats earlier this year to line up in support of my provision—and with this deal announced today, I’m now more encouraged than ever that Congress will do the right thing for our military families, and finally allow VA to cover the cost of fertility services.”

"The inclusion of Assistive Reproductive Technologies in this year's Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill finally starts to give the VA the resources to help wounded veterans start and grow families,” said Allison Jaslow, Chief of Staff at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). “This benefit is long overdue, but this is only the first step. We look forward to continuing to work with leaders like Senator Murray to ensure veterans are not denied the right to start a family after giving so much for this country." 

"Today the Senate took a major step in ensuring veterans who have suffered catastrophic reproductive injuries during their service can have access to services that will allow them to have children," said Sherman Gillums, Executive Director of Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA).  "We applaud Senator Murray for her commitment to overturning the ban on IVF services that denied veterans access to this important benefit and eagerly look forward to its final passage in the House."

“Veterans who have lost their ability to have children due to service related injuries and illnesses deserve the opportunity to start a family,” said Raymond C. Kelley, Legislative Director for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). “The VFW salutes Senator Murray for her hard work to ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs is able to provide them the fertility treatment options they need.”

Background:

After more than a decade of war, widespread use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and harsh deployment conditions have resulted in greater rates of genitourinary, blast, spinal, and brain injuries than in past conflicts, leaving thousands of veterans unable to conceive naturally. 

On April 14, 2016, Sen. Murray offered an amendment during a committee markup to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017 to allow VA to offer assisted reproductive technology for the first time since the early 1990s, when VA was banned from covering the costs of IVF. Sen. Murray’s amendment was adopted 23-7, with the support of nine Republicans. Sen. Murray’s amendment would allow VA to use existing funds to cover the costs of assisted reproductive technology, of which IVF is the most common. Because the provision in the MilCon-VA bill would supersede, but not permanently repeal VA’s ban on providing IVF and would need to be reauthorized through the appropriations process, Sen. Murray will continue to push for a full repeal of the IVF ban.

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