Mazie Hirono To DOD: How About Covering Egg Freezing For Women In The Military?

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Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) is urging Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to look into the department covering the costs of freezing eggs or sperm for service members, noting that family planning is a major reason that women leave or don’t join the military.

“We owe it to these service members to ensure they have the tools and command support to begin a family when they choose, while continuing to serve our country,” Hirono wrote to Austin, in a letter first obtained by HuffPost.

“Additionally, increasing the number of the female recruits will be critical to not only reaching DOD’s diversity goals, but their recruitment goals as well. Providing family planning options could be a critical tool in making that happen,” she wrote. “We urge you to study the offering and funding of cryopreservation services to our military personnel.”

Below is a copy of Hirono’s letter.

Specifically, the Hawaii senator is calling on Austin to look into the demand for egg freezing and sperm freezing among service members, whether offering it would lead to greater retention, and what the cost would be if it was offered to active-duty service members.

She also asks Austin to determine the number of people of different ages, genders and military professions who decide to leave active duty for family planning reasons.

“This issue does not just impact women, as both male and female service members risk infertility due to combat-related injuries and toxic exposure, which often influences decisions to preemptively preserve the ability to have children post deployments,” said the Democratic senator.

“Foreign military services, like the British Armed Forces, are increasingly offering cryopreservation for their service members as a component of basic healthcare,” she added. “While U.S. service members can currently access cryopreservation by paying out of pocket, many cannot afford the procedure.”

A Defense Department spokesperson declined comment, but noted, “As with all congressional correspondence, we will respond directly to the author of the letter.”

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