Does the Government Pay for In Vitro Fertilization?

President Bush doesn’t want taxpayers to pay for the destruction of embryos. Some embryos are destroyed as a result of in vitro fertilization. Does the federal government fund embryo destruction through IVF in any way–through research or through its employee insurance programs?

Not directly. The 1996 congressional ban on research in which embryos are “destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury greater than that allowed on fetuses in utero” rules out federal funding for almost all fertility research. And as for insurance, there is no blanket fertility coverage for government employees, military or civilian.

Indirectly, some federal dollars support IVF. For example, federal money underwrites the academic medical training that all doctors, including fertility doctors, receive.

More August reruns: Two newspapers in the congressional district of Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif., have asked Condit to resign. Slate reader Eric Hopkins wants to know: Who writes newspaper editorials, and why are they unsigned? Glad you asked.

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Explainer thanks Sean Tipton of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.