Veterans who are experiencing difficulty conceiving a child would be entitled to financial assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs to cover the considerable costs of in vitro fertilization (IVF) if a new bill passes both houses of Congress.
The Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs voted last week in support of the bill, which was sponsored by Democrat Patty Murray of Washington state. Murray argues the bill could help the 1,830 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who the Pentagon says have suffered pelvic or genital injuries that could affect their ability to reproduce. More from The Associated Press:
Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, introduced but then withdrew an amendment that would bring the measure in line with Department of Defense policy. That department provides IVF for severely injured or ill veterans but doesn't cover the cost of artificial insemination using surrogates or donor eggs and sperm.
Murray said such an amendment would unfairly exclude from coverage veterans whose injuries are so severe as to eliminate any possibility that they could conceive or bear children. Burr, the ranking member of the committee, agreed to withdraw that amendment.
''It is not our place to pick winners and losers based on the severity of the injury,'' she said.
Burr also successfully introduced amendments allowing VA to provide adoption assistance to veterans with infertility conditions incurred in combat and to require the VA to report annually the number of veterans receiving treatment and the cost of that treatment.
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