On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will consider S.B. 469, a bill intended “to improve the reproductive assistance provided by the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to severely wounded, ill, or injured members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and their spouses or partners, and for other purposes.”

While the bill has the noble intent of supporting veterans that have been wounded in service, this would be the first time taxpayer funds are used to cover in vitro fertilization. Despite the fact that IVF is often hailed as solution for infertility, it has a very high failure rate.  According to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, there is a global failure rate of 77 percent of all assisted reproductive cycles, and based on data from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, the failure rate here in the U.S. is almost 70 percent.

While this bill only covers the actual IVF procedures, it will allow the patients to use private donor eggs at the risk to women’s health. As our work and documentary films have evidenced, the practice of egg “donation” relies on vulnerable women putting their own health at risks for others—very often without knowing the medical risks involved. The medical process required for egg retrieval is lengthy and there are medical hazards associated with each step. Risks include Ovarian Hyper Stimulation syndrome (OHSS) due to superovulation, loss of fertility, ovarian torsion, blood clots, kidney disease, premature menopause, ovarian cysts, chronic pelvic pain, stroke, reproductive cancers, and in some cases, death.

In addition to the women, the children created from these methods are at increased health risks, placing them at increased risk for preterm births, stillbirths, low birth weights, fetal anomalies, higher blood pressure, Beckwith-Wiedemann and Angelman Syndrome.

While our veterans deserve excellent health care, it cannot come at the cost of doing further damage to other women and children.

To learn more about what’s wrong with third party reproduction, take a moment to review our fact sheet here. And if you’re concerned about this legislation, contact your senator and tell them to think again before supporting such a bill.

Image by glynlowe via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)



Author Profile

Christopher White, Ramsey Institute Project Director