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The Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act would also expand adoption options and make VA’s highly successful child care pilot program permanent

Senator Murray: “We promise to take care of veterans long after the war is over—and allowing them to fulfill their dream of having a family is a big part of that promise”

(Washington, D.C.)  – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, reintroduced comprehensive legislation that would, among other things, repeal the Department of Veterans Affairs’ decades-old ban on offering reproductive services such as IVF to veterans with service-connected injuries. Congressman Rick Larsen (WA-02) today introduced the companion bill in the U.S. House.

During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of servicemembers suffered genitourinary, blast, spinal and brain injuries that left them unable to conceive naturally. But, because of a ban Congress passed in 1992, VA has been prohibited from covering the costs of certain fertility services, and while Senator Murray has successfully added a provision to annual spending bills the past few years to make fertility treatments and adoption options available to military families, Senator Murray is committed to repealing the ban once and for all and taking away any question that this service will be available in the long-term.

“On behalf of all the military families who sacrifice so much on our behalf, it’s past time Congress took this outdated ban off the books and gave veterans peace of mind that these decisions are theirs, and theirs alone,” Senator Murray said. “We promise to take care of veterans long after the war is over-- and allowing them to fulfill their dream of having a family is a big part of that promise.”

The Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act would expand current fertility treatment and counseling offerings at the VA, empowering severely injured veterans to start families when the time is right for them.

Summary of the legislation:

  • Expansion of treatment and care: The Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act would lift VA’s ART ban and expand ART treatments beyond DoD’s current policy limitations.
  • Fertility treatment for spouses: The Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act makes family members or gestational surrogates of a severely wounded veterans eligible for fertility treatment and associated reproductive health care services. For example, a male veteran may suffer spinal cord injuries that make it challenging to naturally fertilize an egg. Making spouses eligible for treatment would allow VA to provide the comprehensive care veterans and their families need to have a child.
  • Adoption assistance: The Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act gives more options to veterans by allowing VA to provide financial assistance to severely wounded veterans who want to adopt children.
  • Child care services: The Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act would make permanent the highly successful child care pilot program in VA, and expand it across the country. Child care is often cited as one of the most significant barriers to care for women veterans and younger veterans.