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(WASHINGTON) — The department of Veterans Affairs will soon provide in vitro fertilization to eligible veterans who are single or in same-sex marriages — coming after criticism of the agency’s lack of reproductive benefits for some veterans.

The VA announced Monday that it will also provide IVF to veterans using donated sperm or eggs.

This announcement comes after lawsuits filed against the Department of Defense and VA in New York and Boston last year argued that some VA policies, including IVF care, were exclusionary to LGBTQ+ members of the military.

VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a statement that the expansion of care has long been a priority for the VA. He added that “raising a family is a wonderful thing.”

“I’m proud that VA will soon help more Veterans have that opportunity,” McDonough said in the statement.

Before Monday’s announcement, the VA only provided IVF care to veterans who were legally married and could biologically produce their sperm and eggs. Federal law states that all veterans who receive IVF must have fertility issues because of a health condition caused by their military service.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., has worked to ensure more inclusive reproductive assistance for veterans. She previously introduced the Veteran Families Health Services Act of 2023 intended to improve the reproductive assistance offered under DOD and VA health care for veterans.

Following the VA’s announcement, Murray applauded the VA for its decision. Murray said she will seek unanimous consent to push legislation forward to ensure IVF care and family-building assistance for all U.S. service members.

“VA’s announcement is an important step forward that will help more veterans start and grow their families — and it’s especially timely as IVF is under attack from the far right,” Murray said in a statement.

Under current policy, VA health care covers up to $2,000 in adoption expenses, but does not cover surrogacy for veterans who have a service-connected disability that caused infertility.

McDonough said they are “working urgently” to implement these new policies as soon as possible.

“VA is taking immediate steps to implement this policy and expects to be ready to deliver this care to Veterans nationwide in the coming weeks,” the VA said in its statement.

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