News Releases

Following years-long fight in Congress to change the policy, VA will enact its new authority to help veterans tomorrow

Sen. Murray, Senate Dems successfully fought to change coverage of assisted reproductive technology services during the Senate Appropriations process last year

(Washington, D.C.) —  Today, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) applauded the Department of Veterans Affairs’ announcement that following its rulemaking process, tomorrow it will begin covering the cost of assisted reproductive technology for veterans who cannot have children without assistance as the result of service-connected injuries. During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though thousands of servicemembers suffered genitourinary, blast, spinal and brain injuries that left them unable to conceive naturally, VA was unable to cover the costs of certain fertility services because of a ban Congress passed in 1992. Last year, Senate Democrats, led by Senator Murray, successfully secured a provision in the MilCon-VA Appropriations bill that gives VA the authority to provide assisted reproductive technology, of which IVF is the most common, through Fiscal Year 2018. The senators will continue to push for a permanent repeal of the ban.

"When you sign up to serve our country, you deserve the best possible care, no matter what,” Senator Murray said. "I applaud VA, especially Secretary Bob McDonald, for working with us to take this step forward, but the fight is not over. On behalf of all of the military families who have sacrificed so much on our behalf, I will keep working to permanently repeal the ban and make sure this country never turns its back on those who served.”

“With more and more troops returning home from combat with injuries that can impact their ability to have children, expanding access to IVF treatment for wounded veterans is an essential part of fulfilling our duty to care for those who have sacrificed for our country,” Senator Blumenthal said. “I look forward to working with Senator Murray to ensure that VA provides these life-changing services to veterans and to make sure this policy is made permanent.”

‎‎ We owe a great deal to the men and women who put their lives on the line for this country.  And it is past time that we overturned this unjust policy so that those who have sacrificed on our behalf are finally able to access critical services and build their own families. This announcement is a step in the right direction to ensure that all veterans and their loved ones are able to have a family,” said Senator Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.

“There are many reasons families need to use IVF in order to become pregnant, including from physical injuries sustained in combat,” said Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee Ranking Member Gillibrand. “I applaud the Department of Veterans Affairs for helping our veterans build their families through this common medical procedure, and will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure this becomes a permanent medical service offered by the VA.”

“Our veterans have earned and deserve high quality care, and we should support our wounded warriors who want to have children and raise a family,” Senator Baldwin said. “I’m pleased that VA has taken this action, and I am proud to have stood with our veterans to move this reform forward.”

“Veterans with service-related injuries that prevent them from having children on their own should not bear the financial burden of reproductive costs as they pursue their dream of growing their family,” Senator Bennet said. “Today’s announcement is an important step forward, but we will continue to fight until this coverage is permanent.”

This effort has the support of: The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), American Legion, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Wounded Warrior Project, RESOLVE, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), AMVETS, and Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN).