A U.S. House of Representatives committee recently passed a bill making it harder—and potentially more dangerous—for active-duty troops and veteran couples to receive some federally funded fertility treatments, according to an article on the website military.com.
The article states that injured troops still on active duty currently can receive infertility treatment, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), through the Defense Department. A measure to extend the same benefit to veterans treated through the Department of Veterans Affairs for service-connected infertility received bipartisan support in recent legislation, but was blocked from passing after a dispute between Senate Democrats and Republicans over Zika virus research funding attached to the bill.
Now, an amendment included in a Labor and Health and Human Services spending bill would block the federal government from funding IVF unless “such treatments do not result in the destruction of viable human embryos before embryo transfer,” according to a committee summary.
Erin Kramer, director of government affairs at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, told military.com that the amendment would force federally funded doctors, including those at the VA and DoD, either to implant all embryos at once or to freeze and store the remaining embryos indefinitely, with no chance at a second implantation attempt should the first one fail. “It actually makes the practice of IVF dangerous, and it would actually preclude the cryopreservation and thawing process,” Kramer said. “Nobody plans to be infertile. Nobody ever expects to be infertile. … Here you have active-duty service members and veterans who are infertile because they served.”
RSCNJ urges you to call your U.S. representative and voice your opposition to this amendment.