New fertility services offered to Air Force members

Women in the Air Force seeking fertility services have a new resource.

A fertility benefits management company, WINFertility, is offering Air Force women free access to nurses and guidance on fertility services in their area. The organization has offered the same services to Navy women since last year and private clients for 25 years.

Military couples move frequently, work high-tempo, demanding jobs and can be separated by long deployments — all of which can make building a family challenging.

“We’re all separated, right?” said Ellen Gustafson, co-founder of the Military Family Building Coalition and a Navy wife.

While TRICare military health insurance covers medically necessary care that can lead to natural conception, including diagnostics and treatments, it does not cover artificial or intrauterine insemination.

Based on congressionally set policies, TRICare also does not cover costs related to donors or semen banks, reversal of tubal ligation or vasectomy (unless medically necessary) or “non-coital” services such as in-vitro fertilization.

A big reason members of the military sometimes decide to leave the service is to secure services not covered by military insurance, Gustafson said.

“We’re seeing folks in the prime of their career having to make a difficult choice,” she said in an interview. “They didn’t want to stop serving; the Air Force didn’t want them to stop serving.”

“If you’re the Air force looking to retain the best people … we want to be able to empower these Airmen to be able to not have to choose between career and family,” said Roger Shedlin, chief executive of WINFertility.

The organization says it can help up to 500 Air Force members find care in their duty areas. The services give women three years of 24-hour access to nurse care managers and direction to local medical care.

“They’ll get really good advice, and that will make the process so much easier,” Gustafson said.

To get started: Go to and click on the “Department of the Air Force” button.

In April, the Air Force updated its leave policies for Airmen and Space Force Guardians who want to participate in a fertility program at a military medical treatment facility. Airmen are authorized up to 35 days of permissive temporary duty for that.

Military members can receive treatments at six military facilities: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland; Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii; Womack Army Medical Center, Fayetteville, N.C.; Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Wash.; San Antonio Military Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas; and Naval Medical Center San Diego.

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