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Senate Votes to Approve VA Fertility Treatments

Mother holds baby born prematurely.

A measure approved by the Senate on Thursday will allow military veterans with groin or reproductive injuries to receive fertility treatments through the Veterans Affairs Department.

The VA is currently prohibited under a 1980s-era law from paying for in vitro fertilization, or IVF, treatments. The military health care program Tricare does cover the procedure for injured troops, but only while they are still on active duty.

The newly approved Senate measure would lift that VA ban.

"This amendment is about fulfilling our promise to the military families who we ask to sacrifice and serve our country on our behalf," Sen. Patty Murray, a Washington State democrat who has long championed the change, said in a statement last month.

The measure was included in the Senate version of Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, which includes $73.5 billion in funding for the VA, a 3-percent increase in funding over 2016. The bill was passed by a vote of 89-8.

Before becoming law, however, the fertility treatment measure must be approved by the House as well.

Rather than lifting the ban, the House's version of the bill instead awards troops with reproductive injuries an extra $20,000, which could be used to pay for IVF treatments, adoption or other family planning options if the veteran so desires.

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at amy.bushatz@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @amybushatz.

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