As many as 1 in 3 servicewomen and female veterans may suffer from infertility. That’s the conclusion of a recent report by the Service Women’s Action Network.
That’s as much as three times the rate for women outside the military.
SWAN is calling for action, including federal support for research on why reproductive health problems are more common among military women than the civilian population.
The report found that military women suffer infertility problems three times more than the national average.
Ellen Haring with the Service Women’s Action Network says the drastically higher rate raises major concerns about reproductive healthcare in the military.
“So what’s going on with military women that they are having such a high level of infertility,” said Haring.
Haring says challenges include limited access to treatment options during deployments.
“Women use birth control on deployment not just to not get pregnant but to regulate their periods,” Haring said.
Those surveyed believed exposure to contaminated water and toxic chemicals at military facilities could be partly to blame for their infertility.
Military officials recognize more needs to be done to support the rising number of female service members and veterans.
It’s been nearly 30 years since the defense department did a comprehensive survey on women’s health.
Officials say an update report from the defense department is expected to be released later this year.
With a record number of females and women veterans serving in Congress, haring is pushing for more resources to go toward reproductive healthcare.
“It’s been a little studied and little considered topic,” said Haring.
By raising awareness about health concerns and risk factors, supporters hope to ensure women who serve our country get the services they need.
According to the report, another factor causing infertility is servicewomen delaying pregnancy until later in life due to deployments and other military commitments.