UK military personnel who have sustained injuries affecting their fertility will receive three free cycles of IVF treatment on the NHS. This forms part of the Military Covenant, which is soon to be brought into law. The details were announced by UK Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox and follows current UK IVF guidelines.
'The obligation we owe to our service men and women, set against the commitment and sacrifice that they make, is enormous', said Dr Fox. The Military Covenant sets out to provide support to military personnel on behalf of the Government in return for their service to the country. Such support includes benefits in housing and healthcare.
The emphasis on three free cycles of IVF treatment is of particular relevance to military personnel injured by explosive devices, such as those improvised in Afghanistan, which can result in damage to the reproductive organs. Although the proposed free treatments meet current UK IVF guidelines as recommended by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), not all PCTs fund this many treatments.
Other benefits outlined in the covenant include increased priority on waiting lists for military personnel stationed in the UK who have fallen sick, council tax relief for overseas personnel and discounts on a range of products and services administered via an armed services card.
A spokesperson for the British Legion said: 'This is an impressive package of support, but even more impressive is the irrevocable legacy of at last getting the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant written into law'.