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VA to Pay for IVF for Veterans Who Are Single or in Same-Sex Marriage

The policy change is the result of a lawsuit that accused the Department of Defense of discrimination

VA to Pay for IVF for Veterans Who Are Single or in Same-Sex Marriage

The Department of Veterans Affairs is expanding the pool of service members and veterans who can seek in vitro fertilization.

A change in policy has terminated the requirement that anyone seeking treatment for service-related infertility must be married and in a heterosexual relationship. Single service members and same-sex couples will be able to seek fertility treatment through the VA. The department will also now allow the use of donor sperm, eggs or embryos.

“Raising a family is a wonderful thing, and I’m proud that VA will soon help more Veterans have that opportunity,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough on March 11. “This expansion of care has long been a priority for us, and we are working urgently to make sure that eligible unmarried Veterans, Veterans in same-sex marriages, and Veterans who need donors will have access to IVF in every part of the country as soon as possible.”

“We continue to identify ways to lean forward as much as we can in support of equity of access to reproductive health care for our service members,” Kimberly Lahm of the Pentagon’s health affairs office said in a statement, per Military Times.

The revisions to the department’s policy came after veterans and civil rights advocates sued the Department of Defense in August of 2023 in federal court in New York and Boston. The lawsuit alleged that thousands of veterans and service members were rejected from fertility treatment for arbitrary and discriminatory reasons.

The lawsuit said those seeking in vitro fertilization coverage, the most effective treatment for infertility, are rejected if they are single, an unmarried couple, in a same-sex relationship or are a couple with the same reproductive organs, or if they lack proof that infertility is related to their service,” reported AP News. “It sought a judge’s order to find that it is discriminatory and unconstitutional for the United States to reject treatment based on sex, sexual orientation, marital status or on the cause of the infertility.”

Service members and veterans seeking fertility treatment through the VA will still need to have documentation that their infertility stems from a service-related issue. The lawsuit did not succeed in mandating the service to be offered to the larger military community. The policy changes also do not include covering the cost of surrogacy.

The VA already covers up to $2,000 in adoption expenses for veterans with service-related infertility. Service members and veterans who qualify for VA fertility treatments can also receive surgical corrections for polyps or endometriosis, vasectomy reversals, and hormone therapies.

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