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Recent legislation introduced in Congress would require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to cover the costs of in-vitro fertilization for veterans who sustained battle-related injuries that prevent them from conceiving children, The Seattle Times reported. U.S. Senator Patty Murray and Representative Rick Larsen are introducing the bill.
The potential bill comes as a relief for military families like the Kennedys: Captain Niall Kennedy sustained a spinal cord injury which could prevent them from being able to conceive. In the Kennedys case, in-vitro fertilization could be the only way to achieve pregnancy.
The bill would not only cover the cost of the in-vitro fertilization process; it would also cover the costs of surrogate childbearers.
Even outside of the military, IVF benefits have become a hot topic. According to Denver Fox News affiliate KDVR, non-military couple Liz and Stephen Stuart are opting to go the in-vitro route after attempting pregnancy unsuccessfully for four years. In their case, total treatments have cost approximately $43,500.
Each single cycle of IVF costs between $16,000 and $19,000 dollars, and many couples need to undergo several cycles before a pregnancy takes place. In many states, insurance companies do not need to cover IVF costs. The Stuarts are opting for a plan called Premier IVF, which allow couples a money-back guarantee of pregnancy after six IVF cycles, according to KDVR.
“For us the program that we are doing is $43,500,” Liz Stuart told the source. “If it doesn’t happen the first time, we know we have a few more tries,” they said.
IVF veterans benefits could make a difference for thousands of military families. The Seattle Times reported that since 2003, more than 1,800 service men and women have sustained injuries that could affect reproductive health. This reflects a dramatic rise in spinal cord and other reproductive injuries during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
“I know that this is often an uncomfortable topic, one that people don’t want to talk about,” Senator Murray said. “I think it is time that America got into the century that we live in and provide these kinds of services.”
Another military couple, Sarah and Sean Halsted, have already enjoyed the potential benefits of IVF. For the Halsteds, personal resources allowed for the pursuit of IVF treatment. Sean Halsted suffered a spinal cord injury after falling more than 40 feet out of a helicopter. The Halsted’s IVF treatments, which cost upwards of $15,000, helped them conceive their twin children, according to the Times.