The Bob Woodruff Foundation Highlights Challenges of Military Service that Can Impact Fertility | Bob Woodruff Foundation

The Bob Woodruff Foundation Highlights Challenges of Military Service that Can Impact Fertility

Author Image

Brief Presents Recommendations to Help Military Families Struggling with Service-Connected Infertility 

(New York NY, June 28) Military service can negatively affect fertility and intimacy. In fact, service members experience infertility at almost double the rate of the US population. Recognizing this, in its recently published “Spotlight on How Military Service Can Impact Fertility” the Bob Woodruff Foundation highlights 

  • challenges related to military service, from traumatic brain injuries to noise exposure and depression, that can impact fertility 
  • fertility services that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) provide, and restrictions to fertility service under both programs. 
  • the Foundation’s VIVA program, which complements the VA’s fertility treatment services.  
  • recommendations that the community serving our services members and veterans can take to help military families struggling with service-connected infertility.  

According to Komal Kamdar, of the Bob Woodruff Foundation and author of the issue brief, while the VA and DoD provide reproductive health care, some military families face barriers that prevent access, including legal restrictions and insurance coverage. To assist, in 2017, the Bob Woodruff Foundation created VIVA, an initiative that helps veterans who are not eligible for the VA program. VIVA offers more inclusive eligibility criteria, including greater flexibility regarding the nature of the service-related wound or injury and a streamlined application process.  

For organizations that work with military families struggling with infertility, the Foundation recommends: 

  • creating broader recognition of the range of service-connected wounds, illnesses, and injuries that can affect fertility 
  • encouraging clinicians to discuss with service members and veterans the potential impacts of medication on fertility;  
  • providing funding for fertility services to complement federal programs and private insurance; and  
  • expanding access to reproductive healthcare services for individuals with service-connected wounds, illnesses, or injuries that affect fertility. 

“At the Foundation, we’re committed to ensuring that our service members and veterans receive the support and services they deserve; for many this involves achieving their dream of a family,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, CEO of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “At the same time, we know that many veterans and service members receive wounds and injuries that can impact intimacy and fertility. While service-connected infertility doesn’t get a lot of attention, it should as it’s an important one, and that’s why we’re highlighting both the issue and our recommendations for addressing it.”

Read more about the impact of military service on fertility and the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s recommendation to help families struggling with fertility challenges.