Fertility Benefits for Wounded Veterans
For over 2 decades, a ban on advanced reproductive technology like in vitro fertilization (IVF) at the Veterans Administration (VA) meant that for approximately 1,800 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who have suffered injuries to their reproductive system, this critical care has not been covered. Without fertility benefits for wounded veterans, these brave soldiers were forced to pay for this expensive treatment out of pocket or forego the chance to have a family of their own.
On the eve of the final session before the election, Congress passed House Resolution 5235, a stop-gap measure that provided the funds to keep the Government running for 10 weeks, Congressional approval for the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide fertility treatment or adoption assistance to these veterans and their families. Another bill, authored by Senator Patty Murray, seeks to fund fertility care for veterans completely and overturns the current ban. While Congress’s actions do not overturn the current ban, they do allow for existing funds within the VA to be used for fertility treatment or adoption services for the next 2 years. We will continue our efforts to support our veterans by advocating to lift the ban permanently.
SGF Patients: The Jaye Family’s Journey
Our patients Lauren and Kevin Jaye understand the urgency necessary for the VA and Congress to implement the measures called for in Senator Murray’s bill. In 2015, we worked closely with the Jayes to share their reproductive journey and educate the public during interviews. In May, the Jayes joined scores of Shady Grove Fertility physicians, staff, and patient advocates, and took their mission to Capitol Hill on Advocacy Day, the annual event organized by RESOLVE: The National Fertility Association, lobbying members of Congress directly to overturn the ban and receiving RESOLVE’s Hero’s Award. In vitro fertilization (IVF) was the necessary treatment for the Jayes after a roadside bomb destroyed one of Kevin’s testicles while he was on duty in Afghanistan in 2012. The Jayes were able to afford fertility treatment with Lauren Jaye’s insurance coverage as a teacher in Maryland, one of the few states with a mandate for fertility treatment coverage.
For Lauren and Kevin, whose dreams of parenthood came true in August with the birth of their daughter, allowing the public to see the process is part of their advocacy. Talking to Military Times about this important step forward, Lauren Jaye said, “It’s hard to imagine when we hold our daughter in our arms that there are veterans who have been denied that opportunity because of an injury they received serving their country and they can’t afford to do what we did. We are really hopeful for the people who have been waiting for years.”
Serving our Veterans
Acknowledging the urgency to support veterans like Kevin Jaye, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) created their own initiative, called Serving our Veterans, to work with fertility centers around the country to provide deeply discounted treatment and fertility benefits for wounded veterans. Currently over 103 centers around the country, including Shady Grove Fertility, have begun to offer discounted treatment to veterans. The program is supported by Veterans’ groups including the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project. Dr. Gilbert Mottla, one of Shady Grove Fertility’s leading voices in Veterans’ advocacy, said, “Although medicine and surgery can’t restore them to their former selves, reproductive medical technology can, through IVF, enable wounded veterans to start and complete their families.”
To learn more about fertility benefits for wounded veterans and the many ways SGF supports our veterans through the Serving our Veterans program, Military Discount Program, Shared Risk 100% Refund Program, Shared Help Discount Program, medication discount programs, and more, call 1-877-971-7755 to speak with our New Patient Liaisons.