The demands of a Navy aviation career can be a barrier to family planning for female aviators and aviation support personnel in the United States Navy.
The Military Family Building Coalition (MFBC), founded by two military spouses, has partnered with WINFertility to provide fertility services to women in aviation.
According to The National Infertility Association, one in eight couples (or 12% of married women) has trouble conceiving or sustaining a viable pregnancy. About 44% of women with infertility have sought medical assistance, the association said. Of those who seek help, approximately 65% give birth.
WINFertility has a pregnancy rate that is 32.9% above the national average, according to the company’s website.
WINFertility said Navy aviators have “unique needs” related to family building because of their training and education schedules.
Aviators are often separated from their spouses and partners due to college, flight training, deployment and other operational duties. Such obligations can shorten “fertility windows” and interfere with traditional family planning, the organization said.
Does Tricare Cover Fertility Services?
Tricare only covers “medically necessary” reproductive services that are “combined with natural conception.” Service members seeking non-coital reproductive services must pay out-of-pocket for fertility services.
Fertility Services for Some Military Members
Under the plan, female Navy pilots and support personnel are eligible for:
- Complimentary reproductive clinical advocacy and counseling: These services include 24/7 clinical support with fertility-trained registered nurses. WINFertility counselors can assist with reproductive behavioral wellness
- Fertility benefit management: WINFertility works to integrate insurance benefits and the best individual treatment plans. This is especially helpful in instances where a couple has different insurance providers. The company also assists with surrogate and adoption services.
- Access to WINFertility’s network of medical and pharmacy providers: WINFertility works with leading reproductive endocrinologists. The company also said their managed care clients experience improved RX medication rates and lower costs.
- Discount on medical services: WINFertility offers a discount for Navy personnel covered under the announced program. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average undiscounted cost for infertility treatments can easily top $10,000.
Ellen Gustafson MFBC co-founder Ellen Gustafson said the organization is pushing for Tricare to cover more fertility services.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer service women this program and we are working to push for family building to be covered so generous companies like WINFertility don’t need to donate this type of essential health care to our military,” said Gustafson.
All eligible Navy personnel have already been notified about the program through their official Navy email accounts, she said.