Health Services Research & Development

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Edmonds SW, Zephyrin LC, Christy A, Ryan GL. Infertility Services for Veterans: Policies, Challenges, and Opportunities. Seminars in reproductive medicine. 2019 Jun 11.
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Abstract: Infertility prevalence and care needs among male and female Veterans are understudied topics. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical benefits package covers full infertility evaluation and many infertility treatments for Veterans but not, by law, for their spouses. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is also specifically excluded from this medical benefits package by regulation. Congress passed a law in 2016 that allowed VHA to provide IVF to Veterans and their legal spouses, and broader infertility benefits to the legal spouse, if the Veteran has a service-connected condition associated with his or her infertility, with some limitations. As the Veteran population becomes increasingly female, research efforts in reproductive health, including infertility, are expanding and evolving. This includes a nationwide study currently underway examining infertility among male and female Veterans and associations with military-related trauma, such as injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma, and toxin exposure. In this review, we describe the state of the science and policy on infertility care in the VHA along with challenges and opportunities that exist within the VHA system.