Advocacy group wants to know why their infertility rate is so high

Women are serving in the military in increasing numbers. According to government statistics, females comprise 17 percent of active armed forces and ten percent of veterans. But some women may be paying a price with their fertility as they serve their country.

The Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), an advocacy group for female service members and veterans, recently released a report showing that as many as in one in three servicewomen and women veterans are suffering from infertility. This rate is significantly higher than the percentage in the general reproductive-age population, which is approximately 12 percent.

Entitled “Access to Reproductive Health Care: The Experiences of Military Women,” the study noted that 37 percent of active duty women and 30 percent of female veterans had chronic problems in conceiving or carrying a baby to term.

SWAN is pushing the federal government for increased funding for research on why military women are experiencing fertility issues and also to provide more treatment options. It has been nearly three decades since the Department of Defense conducted a comprehensive survey on women’s health.

Researchers and advocates feel some of the reasons this may be happening include:

  • Deployment during women’s peak reproductive years
  • Limited access to reproductive medicine treatment options during deployment
  • Exposure to contaminated water and toxic chemicals at military facilities

The study also showed that female soldiers were using birth control during deployment not just to prevent pregnancy but also to regulate their menstrual cycles.

Limited government-funded fertility services

Five military treatment facilities provide fertility services, including one in San Diego. Tricare provides limited IVF coverage for those who do not live in a region served by a government medical center. IVF is even more limited for veterans who must prove their infertility is service related.

HRC Fertility offers significant military discounts

HRC Fertility is committed to helping military members receive care and is pleased to provide U.S. veterans and those in active duty a substantial discount on in vitro fertilization (IVF) services. The discount is available at all of HRC Fertility’s locations.

To qualify, the patient or spouse needs to show identification as proof of their involvement with the U.S. Armed Forces.

HRC Fertility also participates in EMD Serono’s Compassionate Corps program to provide discounted medications to active duty or veteran patients. EMD Serono offers free medications to veterans with service-related infertility.

Removing financial obstacles

HRC Fertility is committed to removing financial barriers for all our patients and especially those women and men who have served our country. Our financial counselors help our patients take advantage of these discounts and other opportunities to finance treatment and build their families.

References:

https://www.abc4.com/news/national/report-military-women-three-times-more-likely-to-experience-infertility-than-civilian-counterparts/1802323984

https://www.servicewomen.org/

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2018/12/13/survey-nearly-40-percent-active-duty-women-report-fertility-problems.html