The American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology offered praise today to Defense Secretary Ash Carter following his announcement that the Department of Defense would implement a two year pilot project to provide fertility preservation benefits to members of the Armed Services. The program will also examine ways to broaden the current, yet limited, policy providing reduced cost IVF benefits to active duty service members.

Fertility preservation involves the freezing of reproductive tissues, sperm or eggs, for future reproduction purposes. These services are important for those who have reason to believe their reproductive capacity may be compromised due to illness or injury, as could occur in the warzone, or for those facing treatments for diseases like cancer, which could leave one infertile. So too, they are important for those who delay family building because of other commitments. While the specifics of the Pentagon’s program are not yet publicly available, the announcement came as part of a list of new initiatives the agency has designed to showcase the military as an attractive, family-friendly employment option.  

ASRM President Owen K.  Davis, MD, commented, “ASRM applauds the Department of Defense for recognizing the importance of addressing family building options for those who serve and sacrifice for our country. With long deployments, service members are at times forced to delay or put on hold their personal family building goals. Sadly, injuries sustained during service to our country can result in injury and impairment to their reproductive potential.  For these reasons, fertility preservation options are especially important for members of the Armed Forces.”

“The Department of Defense has made important changes to its policies in recent years to assist our military personnel needing medical assistance in their family building pursuits.  We are pleased to see this additional level of commitment announced today. At the same time, there is an obligation for Congress to pass legislation to allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to change its policy to allow IVF benefits for veterans injured in the line of duty and who as a result need infertility treatment. This benefit is already available to similarly situated active duty members. We call on Congress to pass this legislation without delay and to halt the denial of this benefit for wounded veterans,” added Brad Van Voorhis, MD, President of SART.

Volume 18, Number 4
January 29, 2016

ASRM issued this press release on January 29, 2016.