CARTER: DoD Will Offer New Fertility Benefit To Troops

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Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced on Jan. 28 that the Pentagon is funding a pilot program that allows all active duty service men and women to preserve sperm and eggs prior to deployment.


“The new benefit will protect active service members ability to start a family in the event of combat injury,” Carter said in a speech on Force of the Future reforms. “We can help our men and women preserve their ability to start a family, even if they suffer certain combat injuries.”

In an email with Task & Purpose, DoD spokesperson Matthew Allen said that through the TRICARE purchased care network, the DoD will cover the cost for active-duty service members to freeze their sperm or eggs.

The pilot will last two years, at which point the department will decide whether or not to renew the program.

This is a boon to many service men and women and their families, being that nearly half of all active duty service members are under 26 — prime ages for child bearing or fathering.

The program takes into account the roughly 1,300 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who suffered injuries that required reproductive surgeries.

“One purpose of the pilot is to understand the costs and potential recruiting and retention benefits for providing this medical service,” Allen said. “After two years, the pilot may be renewed or service members can pay for additional storage out of pocket.”

Currently, seven military treatment facilities cover the cost of in-vitro fertilization and artificial insemination for eligible active duty personnel and their spouses.

“By providing this additional peace of mind for our young service members, we provide our force greater confidence about their future,” Carter said.

Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Connie Gawrelli
Ryan Kules

Editor's note: A combat wounded veteran, Ryan served in the U.S. Army as an armor officer assigned to 1st Battalion, 13th Armor Regiment. While deployed to Iraq in 2005, his vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device buried in the road. He works as the Wounded Warrior Project's national Combat Stress Recovery Program director.

On Nov. 29, 2005, my life changed forever. I was a 24-year-old U.S. Army armor captain deployed to Taji, Iraq, when my vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. On that day, I lost two of my soldiers, Sgts. Jerry Mills and Donald Hasse, and I lost my right arm and left leg.

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(U.S. Marine Corps photo)

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Conor, the McDowells' only child, was killed during a vehicle rollover accident in the Las Pulgas area of Camp Pendleton during routine Marine training on May 9. He was 24.

Just weeks before that emotional ceremony, Alexandrina Braica, her husband and five children attended a similar memorial at the same military base, this to honor Staff Sgt. Joshua Braica, a member of the 1st Marine Raider Battalion who also was killed in a rollover accident, April 13, at age 29.

Braica, of Sacramento, was married and had a 4 1/2-month-old son.

"To see the love they had for Josh and to see the respect and appreciation was very emotional," Alexandrina Braica said of the battalion. "They spoke very highly of him and what a great leader he was. One of his commanders said, 'He was already the man he was because of the way he was raised.' As parents, we were given some credit."

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"We're all still in denial, 'Did this really happen? Is he really gone?' Braica said. "When I got the phone call, Josh was not on my mind. That's why we were at peace. He was always in training and I never felt that it would happen at Camp Pendleton."

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(Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

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The United States' pattern of "unilaterally reneging on its commitments" is leading Pyongyang to reconsider its own commitments to discontinue tests of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), the ministry said in a pair of statements released through state news agency KCNA.

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Roman Sabal, 58, originally from Belize, came to the San Ysidro Port of Entry around 7:30 on Monday morning with an attorney to ask for "parole" to attend his naturalization interview scheduled for a little before noon in downtown San Diego. Border officials have the authority to temporarily allow people into the country on parole for "humanitarian or significant public benefit" reasons.

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