Veterans Affairs Announces It Will Expand IVF Coverage To Unmarried Vets, Same-Sex Couples

(Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

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Kate Anderson Contributor
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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced Monday that it will be adding in vitro fertilization (IVF) services for unmarried or same-sex couples.

The VA’s previous policy required that veterans be married and “able to produce their own” eggs and sperm, but the new policy will allow couples to use “donor eggs, sperm, and embryos,” according to a press release. Additionally, couples will no longer be required to be legally married and the agency’s services will now also extend to same-sex couples. (RELATED: Republican Gov Signs Law Protecting IVF After Landmark Ruling Declared Frozen Embryos ‘Children’)

“Raising a family is a wonderful thing, and I’m proud that VA will soon help more Veterans have that opportunity,” Denis McDonough, secretary of the VA, said in the press release. “This expansion of care has long been a priority for us, and we are working urgently to make sure that eligible unmarried Veterans, Veterans in same-sex marriages, and Veterans who need donors will have access to IVF in every part of the country as soon as possible.”

An embryologist holds a dish with human embryos at the La Jolla IVF Clinic Feb. 28, 2007 in La Jolla, California. (Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

An embryologist holds a dish with human embryos at the La Jolla IVF Clinic Feb. 28, 2007, in La Jolla, California. (Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

The changes would not alter the VA’s current requirement that, in order to obtain IVF treatment through the agency, the infertility issues must be due to the individual’s military service, according to the press release. Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state said she is seeking unanimous consent to pass her bill that would remove the provision, according to Politico.

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled in February that frozen embryos are human life, granting several couples’ lawsuit permission to move forward after their fertilized eggs were accidentally destroyed. The decision prompted intense debate on the subject of IVF.

The Alabama legislature responded by passing a measure in March, which was signed by Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, to prohibit any criminal or civil prosecution against medical professionals who provide IVF treatments. President Joe Biden also called on Congress in his State of the Union address Thursday to “guarantee the right to IVF … nationwide.”

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