Some exciting news for our military heroes. The Department of Defense recently announced that the Pentagon will start covering fertility preservation for military personnel as part of a two year pilot program. The new benefit will be available to any service member who requests it, including those anticipating deployment. This program will also examine ways to broaden the current policy that provides IVF benefits to active-duty service members at a reduced cost.
What is fertility preservation?
Fertility preservation is a therapy in which either a woman’s eggs or a man’s sperm are collected, frozen, and then stored for use at a later date.
For women, this process consists of taking medications to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs and removing them under ultrasound guidance with twilight anesthesia. The eggs are then cryopreserved (frozen) via a process called vitrification. For men, the process is a little simpler: sperm are collected, screened for infections, analyzed by a laboratory technician, and then frozen. The entire treatment cycle is typically completed within 2 weeks for women and same day for men and has excellent success rates.
Frozen eggs and sperm can be used many years after freezing to start a family.
Why is fertility preservation important for military personnel?
Combat injuries, some of which may impair fertility, are not uncommon for military personnel. Fertility preservation for our military personnel provides an added layer of security if such injuries occur.
According to Department of Defense data1, more than 42% of male officers are between the ages of 26 and 35; prime child-bearing or fathering years. According to this same data, women made up 15% of the 1.3 million active-duty military personnel in 2014. A woman’s fertility potential is highest in her 20s to early 30’s, gradually dropping after age 35, and then rapidly declining each year after age 40.
Egg and sperm freezing allows service members to continue their service to our country with the peace of mind that they can start to build their families when they are ready.
The RMA Military and First Responder Discount Program
RMA at Jefferson and RMA of Central Pennsylvania at PinnacleHealth offers a 30% discount to any active-duty US Military, Reservist, Disabled Veteran, 20-year retired military personnel, or First Responders (as defined at www.firstresponder.gov), and their spouses. A 5% discount on our already discounted multi-cycle and/or egg donor packages is also available. Please visit our Affording Care page for the full details.