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Bob Woodruff Foundation Establishes Interim Funding for Injured Veteran IVF Services

NEW YORK, Oct. 18, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Bob Woodruff Foundation celebrates the culmination of months of work by Congress and advocacy by multiple veteran serving organizations. Congressional action resulted in passing a bill that will allow veterans who have lost the ability to procreate due to injury during service to nation to receive in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments through the Veterans Administration (VA). We recognize that it will take time for this legislation to take effect as services and expenses are defined. In order to create a bridge, the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) has established a financial assistance fund to help cover unreimbursed costs associated with these needed reproductive treatments in order for these veterans to receive care.

"We ask so much of our military, yet they ask for little in return. It's our duty to make sure they have the resources they need when they return home—especially if they have been injured," said Lee Woodruff, cofounder of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. "Together, we have an opportunity to provide renewed hope as our service members look toward the next chapter in their lives."

BWF believes that by assisting in this manner it can lessen the financial burden for injured service members and veterans wanting to start a family, who often must choose between incurring enormous personal expense for IVF treatment or forgoing the dream of having children of their own.

The BWF IVF Fund complements efforts on the part of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) to provide access to care while we all await action by Congress to change the policy at the VA.

This fund was made possible through funding provided by independent grants by Merck & Co., Ferring Pharmaceuticals, and EMD Serono.

"Such collaboration between a medical specialty, the pharmaceutical industry and a well-established nonprofit like the Bob Woodruff Foundation is unprecedented," said Dr. Gilbert Mottla, a leading physician in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, at Shady Grove Fertility, Annapolis, Md. "This effort will go a long way toward helping wounded veterans build their families."

"The nation's fertility experts stand ready to assist in any way we can to implement these new programs at the VA. We applaud Congress for enacting legislation to provide this necessary access to care and we commend the Bob Woodruff Foundation for its continued commitment to our nation's veterans," stated ASRM President Owen K. Davis.

The impetus for this initiative came out of the groundbreaking "Intimacy After Injury" conference, hosted by the Bob Woodruff Foundation in December 2014. This two-day event explored the effects of war injuries on sexual relationships and fertility. Among the challenges discussed was the fact that the VA was prohibited by a law enacted in 1992 to cover the cost of IVF therapy; however, IVF was being covered by the Department of Defense for those on active duty.

An estimated 1,500 to 2,000 service members sustained genitourinary injuries while fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the Department of Defense Trauma Registry. Thousands more have spinal injuries and other injuries that can stand in the way of starting a family.

For eligibility criteria and to apply for the program, please visit www.BobWoodruffFoundation.org/ivf-fund-application.

About the Bob Woodruff Foundation: The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) was founded in 2006 after reporter Bob Woodruff was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq. Since then, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has led an enduring call to action for people to stand up for heroes and meet the emerging and long-term needs of today's veterans. To date, BWF has invested more than $33 million to find, fund and shape programs that have empowered more than 2.5 million impacted veterans, service members and their families. For more information, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org or follow us on Twitter at @Stand4Heroes.

CONTACT: Sam Kille, Communications Manager (646) 257-5490, office (646) 678-1615, cell sam.kille@bobwoodrufffoundation.org

Source:Bob Woodruff Foundation