Larsen, Families of Wounded Veterans Call on Congress to Support Injured Veterans Who Want to Start Families

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) joined by families of wounded veterans and advocates today held a press conference in front of the U.S. Capitol to call on Congress to support veterans who want to start families but are unable to due to a 1992 law banning the Department of Veterans Affairs from funding in vitro fertilization (IVF) services.

“These brave servicemembers sacrificed for our country in the line of duty. It is unconscionable that Congress would stand in the way of their dreams of becoming parents and starting a family,” said Larsen, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. “Unfortunately, because of an outdated ban on effective fertility treatments, that is often the case. It is time for Congress to lift the VA’s ban on providing IVF by passing the Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2015, or by repealing the ban in a spending bill.”

Click HERE for a high quality photo from today’s event.

Legally the Department can provide veterans with fertility assessments, counseling and some treatment but not IVF – the most popular and successful assisted reproductive technology available today – which forces veterans to pay thousands of dollars to address fertility issues from service-connected injuries. A single IVF treatment can cost $12,000 or more.

In May, Larsen teamed up with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to urge the Department to work with Congress to help injured veterans access advanced fertility treatments. Thousands of servicemembers suffer battlefield injuries that make it difficult or nearly impossible to have children without medical assistance.

For years Larsen has been Congress’ leading voice for expanding reproductive care for veterans. In last year’s Veterans Affairs spending bill Larsen pushed the Department to analyze the prevalence of infertility among veterans returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result, in April of this year the agency announced that IVF treatment is consistent with its goal to support veterans and improve their quality of life—meaning that Congress is the final barrier between affected veterans and the healthcare they need to start families.

Larsen’s Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2015 would expand the Department’s fertility treatment services to include IVF.

###