Rule Change Covers IVF Treatments for LGBTQ Vets

U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough. Photo via Meta.

Starting a family just got a whole lot easier for LGBTQ veterans.

The Department of Veterans Affairs will begin covering the cost of in vitro fertilization (IVF) for same-sex couples and single veterans. The expansion was announced on March 11 by VA Secretary Denis McDonough. 

“Raising a family is a wonderful thing, and I’m proud that VA will soon help more veterans have that opportunity,” McDonough said. “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.” 

Previously, VA policy restricted IVF coverage to veterans whose military service affected their fertility. In those cases, veterans had to be legally married and able to produce their own eggs and sperm from that relationship.

Two lawsuits were filed last year, arguing the VA’s policy was discriminatory against LGBTQ veterans. Ashley Sheffield, a 20-year Air Force veteran, sued the department, claiming exposure to carcinogens and other toxic substances damaged her reproductive system. 

Despite being on 100% disability, Sheffield and her wife paid thousands out of pocket for IVF treatments.

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, who has long advocated for the rule change, commended the VA’s decision.

“Service members and veterans have sacrificed so much for our country — but they should never have to sacrifice their ability to start a family,” Murray said.


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