Rich Vaughn Blog: AMA Approves Model Act for ART Agencies

ABA Approves Model Act for Assisted Reproduction Agencies

The demand for assisted reproduction technology services is exploding. Of the nearly 2.7 million babies born in the United States in 2008, at least 38,496 (1.44 percent) were born via some form of ART. The financial cost to Intended Parents seeking to create a family via ART is significant—estimated at $50,000 to $100,000 for gestational surrogacy, $15,000 to $20,000 for donor eggs, $12,000 for IVF, and $3,000 to $5,000 for medications, according to a 2014 Money article. The fertility market in 2013 was estimated at $3.5 billion and growing by 3.6 percent per year, according to U.S. Fertility Clinics & Infertility Services: An Industry Analysis, October 2013.

Within any lucrative market, especially ART, there are opportunities for wrong-doing. Although there is no epidemic of malfeasance by ART agencies, it has occurred. The American Bar Association’s House of Delegates, the association’s policy-making body, recently approved a Model Act Governing Assisted Reproductive Technology Agencies to help protect intended parents, surrogates and donors.

This Model Act expands on the Model Act Governing Assisted Reproduction Technologies, adopted by the ABA House of Delegates in 2008, which provided a template for legislation governing the relationship between Intended Parents and licensed ART professionals.

Likewise, the Model Act on ART Agencies approved last month will provide a template for jurisdictions to craft laws governing ART agencies that receive payment from Intended Parents to match them with unlicensed third parties in the ART process, such as egg or sperm donors and surrogates.

The laws and regulations governing ART agencies differ from state to state and in many parts of the country are non-existent. As the ABA report states, “Agencies can be owned and operated by anyone without professional training or affiliation. There are documented cases in which the owners of such agencies have misappropriated and absconded with client funds and otherwise inadequately or negligently administered their programs to the detriment of their clients and their donors/surrogates.”

The lack of oversight with regard to ART agencies puts the Intended Parents, donors and surrogates at risk of legal and financial harm. Regarding such agencies, there is a significant gap in the licensing and regulation that governs most other aspects of the ART process. Such licensing and regulation should be proposed and adopted…. This Resolution proposes the ABA Model Act Governing ART Agencies for jurisdictions seeking to develop their own legislation governing ART agencies. By adopting this Resolution, the legal community will be providing a model licensing structure to help states ensure that agencies providing support to the third party reproduction process are doing so with accountability and to help establish ethical and best practices for ART agencies, for the benefit of all ART participants.

As chair of the ABA’s ART Committee, I am extremely proud of the exemplary work the committee has done in laying a foundation for consistent, effective ART laws in the U.S. and internationally. In drafting the Model Act, a team of dedicated ART attorneys traveled to various cities at their own expense and dedicated countless hours of time in meetings. Their first draft was further refined and submitted to the House of Delegates by the  Family Law; Real Property, Trust and Estate Law; and Science and Technology Law Sections. The herculean efforts of these attorneys will provide lawmakers a framework for licensing ART agencies and Intended Parents a guideline for assessing the capability and standards of ART agencies, benefiting countless children and families for decades to come.



Rich Vaughn
Richard Vaughn

Attorney Rich Vaughn is founder and principal of International Fertility Law Group, one of the world’s largest and best-known law firms focused exclusively on assisted reproductive technology, or ART, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogacy, sperm donation or egg donation. Rich is co-author of the book “Developing A Successful Assisted Reproduction Technology Law Practice,” American Bar Association Publishing, 2017.

Peiya Wang
Paralegal (律师助理)

Peiya Wang joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2015, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases and provides translation services for many of IFLG’s international clients. Peiya received her bachelor’s degree from Beijing Technologies and Business University, where she majored in Marketing. She moved to the United States in 2012 to attend Northeast University in Boston, Massachusetts, receiving a Master of Science degree in Global Studies and International Affairs in 2014. Peiya moved to Los Angeles in 2015 and received her paralegal certification from UCLA Extension. When away from the office, Peiya is a dragon boat paddler and a ballroom dancer, where she favors Rumbas and Cha-chas. She is fluent in Mandarin and English.

Luis Sosa

Luis R. Sosa joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2016, where he enjoys pursuing his passion for family and reproductive law. While working toward his bachelor’s degree at Florida International University, Luis worked as a paralegal and legal assistant for family law litigation firms in Miami and Washington, D.C. As a paralegal and case manager for IFLG, Luis, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, manages surrogacy, egg donation and other reproductive law cases. In addition to spending time with husband Randy and dog Marty, Luis enjoys being outdoors and appreciating the arts.

Toni Hughes

After receiving her B.S. in Business Management, Toni joined IFLG to pursue her dream of working in the legal field. As a Paralegal with over 10 years of experience in the assisted reproduction technology field, Toni is our Managing Paralegal, responsible for training and managing our paralegal staff. From drafting legal documents to assisting our clients with post-birth matters, Toni embraces the challenge of learning something new in this field each day. Besides spending time with her son, Jordan, Toni enjoys exploring new things, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and serving as a Youth Advisor for “Next Generation.”

Miesha Cowart
Financial Coordinator

Miesha Cowart joined IFLG as a financial specialist in 2014 following a successful career in development and business finance. Miesha previously worked for 10 years in the construction industry as a controller and for 13 years as Development Coordinator for the non-profit U.S. Fund for UNICEF. In her free time, Miesha works with “Next Generation” at her church. “They are my heartbeats!” she says of the youth in her community.


Kim has over 25 years of experience in the legal field and has worked exclusively in surrogacy and assisted reproduction law since 1999. Kim is a senior case manager of surrogacy and egg donation cases, and is also responsible for managing parental establishment cases and interacting with IFLG’s Of Counsel attorneys across the country. With three children of her own, Kim understands the importance of family and finds working in this area of law a rewarding experience.

Rich Vaughn

Attorney Rich Vaughn combined his personal passion as a father of twin boys born via assisted reproductive technology (ART) with more than 20 years of experience in business and technology law to build International Fertility Law Group. Today IFLG is one of the most successful and best-known law firms in the world focused exclusively on fertility law, helping thousands of intended parents through empathetic listening, compassionate guidance, and unmatched legal expertise. As an advocate for reproductive freedom, Rich also contributes his knowledge and time to improving the understanding and practice of ART law, most recently as a founder of and speaker at the first Cambridge University International Surrogacy Symposium held in June 2019, as immediate past chair of the American Bar Association ART Committee, and as a popular presenter to law schools, faculty and advocacy organizations all over the world.

Elizabeth Tamayo

Elizabeth received her Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice from California State University of Los Angeles. Shortly after graduating, she continued her education at the University of California, Los Angeles where she obtained her Paralegal certificate. Elizabeth is fluent in Spanish and has been in the legal field since 2009. She is excited to be a part of the IFLG Team helping families realize their dreams.

Sunny Chien

Sunny joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2017, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases for many of IFLG’s international clients. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from California State University of Los Angeles, where she graduated cum laude. Sunny is bilingual in English and Mandarin and has extensive experience as a legal assistant and paralegal at Los Angeles-area law firms. She is excited to be part of the IFLG team. In her spare time, Sunny enjoys spending time with her family and their dog, going to the beach, cooking, and being outdoors.

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Molly O'Brien

Fertility law attorney Molly O’Brien began working in the field of assisted reproduction technology (ART) in 2005, at an egg donation agency and a surrogacy agency where she became familiar with all aspects of in-vitro fertilization, egg donation and the financial aspects of surrogacy. Since becoming an attorney in 2011, Molly has drafted and negotiated surrogacy, egg donation, sperm donation embryo donation agreements for hundreds of her clients all over the world.