AFA’s Illuminations LA Honors Hill, Pritzker, Bernstein

I once again had the great honor to serve as the National Event Co-Chair for The American Fertility Association’s Los Angeles awards gala, Illuminations, held May 3 at The W Hollywood. The annual Illuminations events in L.A. and New York are fundraisers for The American Fertility Association (, a non-profit organization that helps families of all kinds create their families of choice by providing education, resources and outreach programs on reproductive and sexual health, infertility prevention and treatment, and family-building options such as adoption and assisted reproductive technology. I am proud to serve on The AFA’s board of directors.

We were fortunate again this year to have an extraordinary group of honorees: Embryologist David Hill, Ph.D., E.L.D., H.C.L.D.; businesswoman and philanthropist Jeanne K. Pritzker, and Jeffrey Arden Bernstein, Esq., a partner with entertainment law firm Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein, a gay, single dad, and someone who exemplifies those to whom The AFA opens its arms in compassion and support.

Bernstein’s father died a few days prior to the Illuminations event, but he and his mother attended nevertheless. Bernstein dedicated his award to his dad.

As if these stellar honorees were not enough, our cast of celebrity presenters really capped off a perfect celebration: actors Margo Robbie and Samuel L. Jackson, Emmy Award-winning reporter and news anchor Wendy Burch of KTLA/Channel 5; and 2013 Illuminations NY honoree Nia Vardalos, actor/playwright (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and author of adoption memoir Instant Mom. (See our post on Vardalos’ 2013 honor here.)

Dr. Hill is a renowned scientist whose entire career has been devoted to providing leadership in the field of reproductive health. As co-founder and Scientific Director of ART, the Laboratory for Assisted Reproductive Technology, which provides clinical services for all patients at the Southern California Reproductive Center, Dr. Hill directs research and physician training in in vitro fertilization, embryo transfer and preimplantation genetic diagnosis. His work has resulted in continuous improved pregnancy rates through applied research and a gift for recognizing and utilizing new technologies in improving fertility. He also is co-principal investigator on a study of the development of stem cell lines as a potential cure for human disease.

Jeanne Pritzker is founder and CEO of Foster Care Counts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of current and former foster children. A successful businesswoman, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Pritzker was preparing to celebrate the bar mitzvah of her eldest child when she and friend Debra Katler-Kupetz hit on the idea of utilizing the party setup for a Mother’s Day celebration the following day as a treat for deserving foster moms. Before long the small event for a handful of foster families had evolved into “a major annual event serving hundreds of families and supported by hundreds of volunteers. Haircuts in the driveway, light refreshments, and music evolved into professional hairstylists from Paul Mitchell and food for everyone from Wolfgang Puck Catering and Nestle,” according to information on the Foster Care Counts website. In 2012, Pritzker; her husband, venture capitalist Tony Pritzker; and friends launched Foster Care Counts ( with a mission to match willing volunteers with foster families in need and to raise funds for nonprofit organizations serving foster youth and families.

In presenting Jeff Bernstein’s award, Jackson said, “Nearly 10 years ago, The American Fertility Association realized that family building encompassed not only helping people with infertility to conceive a child, but also included the LGBT community, whose desire to have children is no less than that of their straight counterparts. So The AFA worked diligently to create a pathway to parenthood for all hopeful parents….

“Jeff exemplifies what The AFA’s Advocacy Award represents: selflessness in the cause of a greater good. The greater good of children; the greater good of LGBT-headed families; the greater good of all families everywhere. Jeff says that every day he wakes up, his most important job is to make sure that his kids know how much they are loved.”

I am most proud to be a part of Illuminations LA and of the important funding support it provides, via the work on The American Fertility Association, to all types of families, regardless of who they are and how they were created.

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.