If you're a soldier injured in the line of duty, the Department of Veterans Affairs picks up the tab for your medical bills—unless, that is, those medical bills come from infertility treatments.

That gap in coverage is the product of a 24-year old law that prohibits the V.A. for offering in vitro fertilization to the thousands of male and female veterans struggling with infertility.

Medical ethicist Arthur Caplan of New York University's Langone Medical Center said two major factors have revolutionized both the military and medicine since then: the sharp uptick in the number of women serving, and the huge developments of fertilization techniques and technology over the past twenty years.

"They didn't have many females in the military 24 years ago, so the kind of in vitro fertilization or some of those technqiues weren't covered because they weren't seen as directly related to service-related injuries," he explained. "Some [treatments] were seen as experimental or still emerging." 

The military has made some strides in the past few decades, including a plan announced in January to allow soldiers to freeze and store their eggs and sperm before deployment. But the ban on other fertility measures is outdated, Caplan said.

"Time to reconsider," Caplan said. "Time to take another look."

Arthur Caplan is the Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor of Bioethics and director of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University's Langone Medical Center. To hear more from Arthur Caplan, tune in to Boston Public Radio above.