DoD Policy Expands Access to Assisted Reproduction


For too many service members, infertility caused by a service-connected illness or injury has made it impossible for them to build their families. The Department of Defense (DoD) covers some assisted reproductive services in cases of service-connected infertility, but eligibility has been limited. On March 11, it was announced that eligibility requirements will now provide greater access to families, but the policy could be better.

Policy Expansion

Prior to this announcement, the policy for assisted reproduction was limited to married service members and those who could produce their own gametes (eggs and sperm)—effectively excluding single service members and those in same-sex marriages.

The new policy will now cover treatment for service-connected infertility for all service members, regardless of their marital status. In addition, the new policy allows for the use of donor gametes. Qualifying service members may use donor eggs, sperm, or embryos when procured at the service member’s expense. While paid surrogacy is still not covered, the policy allows for treatment of a third-party surrogate who is a TRICARE beneficiary.

The VA has announced similar changes to its own policies. Like DoD, the VA will now cover IVF treatment for eligible Veterans regardless of marital status and will allow the use of donor gametes.

Step Forward, But More to Be Done

NMFA commends the DoD and the VA for recognizing that all service members and veterans with service-connected infertility deserve the chance to build their families, regardless of their marital status. However, the new policy does not go far enough. We urge DoD to expand coverage of assisted reproductive technologies to all military families, including those who struggle with infertility that cannot be directly tied to service.

What is your military family’s thoughts on this policy expansion? Do you have a story that you’d like to share? Share below.