The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Legacy have partnered to test and cryopreserve sperm from 1,000 Global War on Terror Veterans across the United States to investigate why Veterans from recent wars are more likely to struggle with infertility than their civilian peers.
“As a VA physician, I have witnessed firsthand Veterans struggling with family building,” said Dr. Ryan Vega, VA’s chief officer for Healthcare Innovation and Learning. “This effort is important to further understanding and tackling a challenge so many of our nation’s Veterans face.”
Previous studies have shown that infertility among Veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq is higher than civilians, but have not identified reasons why. This Cooperative Research & Development Agreement, or CRADA, study will explore possible contributing factors, such as burn pit exposure, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
The study will collect sperm samples from participants, which will be tested and cryogenically stored. After six months, the samples will be reanalyzed to check for any additional issues. While only male Veterans can provide sperm samples, researchers hope that study findings will help improve VA fertility services for all Veterans.
VA and Legacy expect to share the results of the CRADA in 2024.
Veterans interested in participating can visit https://www.givelegacy.com/vha-crada/.