Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) urges Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to look into the department covering egg or sperm freezing costs for the military, noting that family planning is a major reason women leave or do not join the army.
“We owe it to these service members to ensure they have the tools and support to start a family when they choose, while continuing to serve our country,” Hirono wrote in Austin, in a letter obtained for the first time by HuffPost.
“Additionally, increasing the number of female recruits will be critical not only to meeting DOD’s diversity goals, but also to their recruiting goals. Providing family planning options could be an essential tool to achieve this,” she wrote. “We invite you to investigate the provision and funding of cryopreservation services to our military personnel.”
Below is a copy of Hirono’s letter.
Specifically, the Hawaii senator asks Austin to consider 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. it was available to active duty members.
She also asks Austin to determine the number of people of different ages, genders and military occupations who decide to leave active duty for family planning reasons.
“This issue does not only affect women, as both male and female service members are at risk of infertility due to combat-related injuries and toxic exposure, which often influences decisions to preemptively preserve the ability to having children after deployments,” the Democratic senator said.
“Foreign military services, such as the British Armed Forces, are increasingly offering cryopreservation to their military as part of basic healthcare,” she added. “While US service members can currently access cryopreservation by paying out of pocket, many cannot afford the procedure.”
A Department of Defense spokesperson declined to comment, but noted, “As with all congressional correspondence, we will respond directly to the author of the letter.”
The Huffington Gt