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Armed Forces: Afghanistan

House of Lords written question – answered on 12th May 2011.

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Photo of Lord Morris of Manchester Lord Morris of Manchester Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government, in view of the high risk of lower limb injury as a result of improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan and the number of military personnel surviving these injuries, whether they will (a) provide sperm donation and storage facilities to be used by service personnel predeployment; and (b) issue groin protectors as standard kit in line with their United States counterparts.

Photo of Lord Astor of Hever Lord Astor of Hever Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has no plans to provide a funded, elective fertility preservation service for service personnel prior to operational deployment. Procedures to preserve sexual and reproductive function have been developed and are available for the relatively small number of injured service personnel who require them on return from operations. Specifically, when deemed appropriate, access to NHS-funded sperm harvesting and storage is offered and this process will continue to be funded by the MoD. However, it is important that service personnel also have access to sound impartial advice about the options open to them prior to an operational deployment, and guidance has recently been issued to commanding officers to this effect.

All deployed personnel are provided with the clothing and equipment needed to undertake operational tasking. In 2010, a new, multi-tiered pelvic protection system entered service, which helps to mitigate the effects of improvised explosive device blasts. This clothing and armour consists of three tiers, including special protective underwear and detachable armoured groin protection and trousers.

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