March 11, 2024

Ranking Members Takano and Brownley on VA’s New IVF Policy for Veterans: “A Step in the Right Direction”

Press Contact

Libby Carlson

Carina Armenta

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Mark Takano (CA-39) and Subcommittee on Health Ranking Member Julia Brownley (CA-26) released the following statement after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it will soon expand eligibility for in vitro fertilization (IVF) services

“This is a step in the right direction to allow eligible unmarried veterans and veterans in same-sex marriages to receive IVF, but we think current law is still too restrictive. It is very difficult to prove that infertility has been caused by prior service to our country, and the onus is on the veteran to prove it. Most veterans with infertility have faced a difficult choice: pay the prohibitive cost of IVF out of pocket, or lose valuable treatment time pursuing a VA service connection. 

Therefore, more work remains. We believe that IVF should be available to any veteran, regardless of whether their infertility is service-connected, as part of VA’s comprehensive medical benefits package. The Veterans Infertility Treatment Act (H.R. 544) would do just that.   

Given what we recently saw in Alabama and the growing attacks on reproductive rights in our country, it is more clear than ever that we need to expand IVF access for veterans, regardless of where they live. This new VA policy is an important step. We will continue to advocate for legislation that will ensure any veteran who wants to start a family can.” 

Background: Until now, VA’s authority to cover IVF was tied to Department of Defense policy, which was limited to straight, married couples who can produce their own eggs and sperm and have an intact uterus. VA was therefore prohibited from treating veterans with donated gametes or embryos. This denied LGBTQ veterans, single veterans, and veterans without their own sperm, eggs, or uterus the ability to have families. Further, those veterans who wished to adopt existing embryos were prohibited from doing so.