From the Hill – May/June 2021

Kristen McCone Gordon

I’m pleased to inform you of an opportunity to help our Chapter, and the national PVA organization, advance a critical piece of legislation.

We need Congress to pass the Veterans Families Health Services Act (H.R. 2734/S. 1280).

This bill would permanently authorize Assistive Reproductive Therapies (ART) to include In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) services, gamete donation, and surrogacy for veterans with service-connected infertility, and include the treatment of veteran spouses in applicable cases.

Currently, Congress has granted a temporary authorization for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide IVF to veterans with service-connected conditions that affect fertility. While it’s encouraging that Congress recognizes the need for this benefit, it’s important to note that this is a temporary solution and reauthorization is not guaranteed. Additionally, the temporary authorization neglects the fact that infertility does not have a one-size fits all solution. Many of our members require IVF to conceive, but just as many veterans require a gamete donation or surrogacy to start their families.

We believe that our government has a moral obligation to restore what has been lost due to a veteran’s service and sacrifice to this nation. Veterans with service-connected conditions that prevent the conception of pregnancy deserve more than what our government is currently offering them. They deserve a chance to start a family.

How NEPVA members can take action

Join us in encouraging the New England Congressional Delegation to cosponsor the Veterans Families Health Services Act (H.R. 2734/S. 1280) by clicking here and sending an email directly to your Representative’s office. Please tell your family, friends, and neighbors to do the same!

This legislation would greatly expand and improve access to assisted reproductive technology for service members and veterans by:

  • Allowing service members to cryopreserve their gametes before deployment to a combat zone or hazardous duty assignment as well as after an injury or illness;jj
  • Permanently authorizing fertility treatment and counseling, including assisted reproductive technology like IVF, for veterans and service members;
  • Allowing for the use of donated gametes, which ensures that veterans’ and service members’ spouses, partners, and gestational surrogates are appropriately included in eligibility rules;
  • Providing support for service members and veterans to navigate their options, find a provider that meets their needs, and ensure continuity of care after a permanent change of station or relocation;
  • Expanding options for veterans with infertility by allowing VA to provide adoption assistance; and
  • Requiring VA and the Department of Defense to facilitate research on the long-term reproductive health needs of veterans.

Currently, the following New England Delegation members have formally pledged their support as a cosponsor: Representative McGovern (D,MA); Representative Hayes (D,CT); Representative Moulton (D,MA); Senator Warren (D,MA); Senator Markey (D,MA); Senator Sanders (I,VT); Senator Blumenthal (D,CT); Senator Shaheen (D,NH); and Senator Hassan (D,NH).

We need your help to encourage the rest of our Congressional Delegation to prioritize this issue. Please contact your Representatives and ask them to cosponsor The Veterans Families Health Services Act (H.R. 2734/S. 1280) today.

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