Bennet Pushes to Expand Reproductive Services for Injured Servicemembers & Veterans

Bill Would Permanently Lift Ban to Expand Fertility Treatment Programs

Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet this week reintroduced a bill to expand current fertility treatment and counseling offerings for servicemembers and veterans with service-connected injuries.

"Servicemembers and military families make unimaginable sacrifices for our country," Bennet said. "We owe it to those injured in the line of duty to support their dreams of having children. We need to permanently lift the ban on assisted reproductive technology, and require the VA and the Department of Defense to take greater measures to support those trying to build families."

During the last decade of war, thousands of servicemembers suffered genitourinary, blast, spinal, and brain injuries that left them unable to conceive naturally. Due to a ban passed by Congress in 1992, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was unable to cover the costs of certain fertility services. The MilCon-VA Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017, which passed Congress with Bennet's support, granted the VA authority to provide assisted reproductive technology, of which IVF is the most common.

The Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2017 would repeal the ban, permanently allowing the VA to provide reproductive services to veterans with service-connected injuries. It would also expand the fertility options available to servicemembers through the Department of Defense, give access to fertility treatment for spouses, allow the VA to provide adoption assistance, and make the VA's child care pilot program permanent.

U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and 3 other Senators are also original cosponsors of the Women Veterans and Families Health Act. U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (D-WA) introduced companion legislation in the House.