It’s hard to believe we are approaching Thanksgiving already! On behalf of the Fertility Centers of Illinois physicians and staff, I would like to thank you for entrusting the care of your patients to our practice. It is a privilege to help your patients on their journey to parenthood.
Veteran’s Day is a day when we thank our service men and women. I know you join us in thanking all men and women who have served our country in all branches of the military for their dedication and service to our country. What you may not know is that in the course of their service many veterans return home suffering with infertility as the result of a duty related injury. In this letter we will be discussing the latest Federal legislation passed and how we can offer assistance to your military patients who are now faced with fertility issues.
With the tenth largest veteran population in the country that includes 721,575 vets, Illinois is the proud home to many veterans and military service members. Military service commonly comes at a family planning cost to male and female service members who tour during their reproductive prime and sustain injuries during service. According to 2013 figures published by Military Medicine, of the estimated 2.2 million active duty members and ready reserve personnel, 16 percent were women and 40 percent were under age 26.
Approximately one in ten military veterans alive today sustained a serious injury during service, with 75 percent of those injuries occurring during combat. Recent combat injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan have proven more detrimental to fertility due to the widespread use of improvised explosive devices in combat zones. As a result, greater rates of spinal cord and genital injuries have been sustained than in conflicts past.
For more than 24 years, Veterans Affairs banned covering the costs of IVF treatment for veterans. Organizations such as RESOLVE fought for better coverage. In a victorious triumph for service members everywhere, the passage of the MilCon-VA Appropriations Bill in September now appropriates government funding to cover the costs of reproductive services, in vitro fertilization (IVF), and adoption assistance for veterans who have suffered service-related injuries preventing them from growing a family on their own.
Fertility Centers of Illinois provides a Military Treatment Program for our veterans, which includes free treatment for service-injured veterans, as well as, treatment discounts for all service members. Our Military Treatment Program includes:
- Free treatment, including IVF, for service-injured veterans whose infertility is a result of their injury
- An additional 25% off already discounted self-pay (cash pay) rates for military service members
- Partnership with TRICARE, the health care program for military service members
- Partnerships with pharmaceutical manufacturers and other industry leaders to offer special discount programs for reduced-cost or free medication
- Member of the Serving our Veterans Program with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)
To learn more about the Military Treatment Program at Fertility Centers of Illinois, please visit fcionline.com/military
As the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not cover IVF treatment, veterans without commercial health insurance tend to face high costs. To help veterans and their eligible family members get access to the fertility treatments they need, we have partnered with EMD Serono. The Compassionate Corp Program provides free medication to eligible, uninsured veterans with service-related injuries and their spouses for up to two cycles per year. Those veterans who are not eligible are encouraged to apply for the Compassionate Care Program. To learn more, simply visit fertilitylifelines.com.
To simplify the process of finding out the status of their fertility and to recognize and honor veteran contributions, Fertility Centers of Illinois is offering a free Fertility Awareness Checkup during the month of November. Veterans can schedule a free Fertility Awareness Checkup by calling 877.324.4483. The patient must mention they are a service member or veteran when making the appointment and provide a valid military I.D. during their scheduled visit. The Fertility Awareness Checkup includes blood tests and an ultrasound for women and a semen analysis for men. A Physician consultation would be booked separately. To learn more about Fertility Awareness Checkup go to: fcionline.com/fertility-awareness
Fertility Centers of Illinois sees the MilCon-VA Appropriations Bill to be a huge victory for our veterans and we are indebted to our military service members and grateful for their service. We want to show our gratitude by continuing to offer discounted or free fertility treatment services to those who have served in our military, and we encourage our colleagues to do the same.