Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) is pleased that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will soon be able to provide reproductive services, including In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) to veterans who qualify. Yesterday, Congress passed H.R. 5235, a bill which includes language that authorizes the provision of IVF services by the VA.
“When our country sends men and women into harm’s way, and that service results in catastrophic injuries that preclude the ability to have children naturally, our country has a responsibility to make them whole again—and now we can,” said Sherman Gillums, Jr., executive director of Paralyzed Veterans. “Paralyzed Veterans is gratified with this step and applauds Congress for taking this long overdue action. We must now work to ensure these services are made a permanent part of the medical benefits package at VA.”
For an estimated 1,700 Paralyzed Veterans members, a future that was denied to them once because of injury, and denied to them again within the VA healthcare system, is finally possible. For 24 years, a reproductive injury has been the only injury a service member could sustain and not receive medical care from the VA, as a veteran. For thousands of veterans, that care was secured in the private sector at great financial and personal cost.
Paralyzed Veterans has long advocated that procreative services be included in the medical benefits package of VA. Just as a veteran’s quality of life is restored with a prosthetic leg or a service animal for a blind veteran, all efforts should be made to restore a veteran’s reproductive function to the fullest extent possible.
“No group of veterans has been more severely affected by the previous ban than our members, and as such no group is more grateful for last night’s final passage of H.R. 5325,” added Gillums. “We especially thank Senator Murray for her steadfast leadership in working to repeal the ban on IVF services.”
About Paralyzed Veterans of America
Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For 70 years, we have ensured that veterans have received the benefits earned through their service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.
As a partner for life, Paralyzed Veterans also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation and advocates for veterans and all people with disabilities. With more than 70 offices and 34 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans serves veterans, their families and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.