Shady Grove Fertility Commends Congressional Approval Allowing Paid Infertility Benefits for Wounded Veterans

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While recent legislation passed gives Department of Veterans Affairs permission to provide fertility treatment or adoption financial assistance to wounded veterans to build their families for 2 years, Shady Grove Fertility will continue to advocate to lift the ban on treatment permanently.

Gilbert Mottla, M.D.

Although medicine and surgery can’t restore them to their former selves, reproductive medical technology can, through IVF, enable wounded veterans to start and complete their families.

For over 2 decades, a ban on advanced reproductive technology like in vitro fertilization (IVF) at the Veterans Administration (VA) meant that for approximately 1,800 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who have suffered injuries to their reproductive system, this critical care has not covered, forcing these brave soldiers to pay for this expensive treatment out of pocket or forego the chance to have a family of their own.

On the eve of the final session before the election Congress passed House Resolution 5235, a stop-gap measure that provided the funds to keep the Government running for 10 weeks, included for the first time, Congressional approval for the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide fertility treatment or adoption assistance to these veterans and their families. Another bill, authored by Senator Patty Murray, seeks to fund fertility care for veterans completely and overturns the current ban. While Congress’s actions last week do not overturn the current ban, they do allow for existing funds within the VA to be used for fertility treatment or adoption services for the next 2 years. Shady Grove Fertility will continue to advocate on behalf of lifting the ban permanently.

Shady Grove Fertility and patients Lauren and Kevin Jaye understand the urgency necessary for the VA and Congress to implement the measures called for in Senator Murray’s bill. In 2015, the practice worked closely with the Jayes to share their reproductive journey and educate the public during interviews. In May, the Jayes joined scores of Shady Grove Fertility physicians, staff, and patient advocates, and took their mission to Capitol Hill on Advocacy Day, the annual event organized by RESOLVE: The National Fertility Association, lobbying members of Congress directly to overturn the ban and receiving RESOLVE’s Hero’s Award. In vitro fertilization (IVF) was the necessary treatment for the Jayes after a roadside bomb destroyed one of Kevin’s testicles while he was on duty in Afghanistan in 2012. The Jayes were able to afford fertility treatment with Lauren Jaye’s insurance coverage as a teacher in Maryland, one of the few states with a mandate for fertility treatment coverage.

For Lauren and Kevin, whose dreams of parenthood came true in August with the birth of their daughter, allowing the public to see the process is part of their advocacy. Talking to Military Times about this important step forward, Lauren Jaye said, “It's hard to imagine when we hold our daughter in our arms that there are veterans who have been denied that opportunity because of an injury they received serving their country and they can't afford to do what we did. We are really hopeful for the people who have been waiting for years."

Acknowledging the urgency to support veterans like Kevin Jaye, the two governing bodies of reproductive medicine, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) created their own initiative, called Serving our Veterans, in Fall 2015 to work with fertility centers around the country to provide deeply discounted treatment for these veterans. Currently over 103 centers around the country, including Shady Grove Fertility, have begun to offer discounted treatment to veterans. The program is supported by Veterans’ groups including the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project. Dr. Gilbert Mottla, one of Shady Grove Fertility’s leading voices in Veterans’ advocacy, said, “Although medicine and surgery can’t restore them to their former selves, reproductive medical technology can, through IVF, enable wounded veterans to start and complete their families.”

In a release, ASRM heralded this initial victory, saying, “the VA has been unable to provide these services until now, while active duty services members with these same injuries are provided access to this care. Fixing this gap in coverage for our veterans has been a major goal of ASRM and the highest priority for our advocacy efforts.”

To learn more about the many ways Shady Grove Fertility supports our veterans through the Serving our Veterans program, Military Discount Program, Shared Risk 100% Refund Program, Shared Help Discount Program, medication discount programs, and more, call 1-888-761-1967 or schedule a consult with a physician at https://www.ShadyGroveFertility.com/appointment.

About Shady Grove Fertility
Shady Grove Fertility is a leading fertility and IVF center of excellence offering patients individualized care, innovative financial options, and pregnancy rates among the highest of all national centers. 2016 commemorates 25 years of Shady Grove Fertility providing medical and service excellence to patients from all 50 states and 35 countries around the world, and celebrates over 40,000 babies born—more than any other center in the nation. Today, 34 reproductive endocrinologists, supported by a highly specialized team of 600 urologists, Ph.D. scientists, geneticists, and staff care for patients in 19 full-service offices and six satellite sites throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Shady Grove Fertility physicians actively train residents and reproductive endocrinology fellows and invest in continuous clinical research and education to advance the field of reproductive medicine through numerous academic appointments and partnerships such as Georgetown Medical School, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the University of Maryland, and the National Institutes of Health. More than 1,700 physicians refer their patients to Shady Grove Fertility each year. For more information, call 1-888-761-1967 or visit https://www.shadygrovefertility.com.

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Courtney Flantzer

Kasey Murphy
@SGFertility
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