International Fertility Law Group Founder Rich Vaughn at ABA House of Delegates in support of 2019 ART Model Act

American Bar Association Ratifies 2019 ART Model Act

I’ve spent the past few days at the American Bar Association’s Midyear Meeting in sunny Las Vegas. It is always an honor and privilege to represent the ABA Assisted Reproduction Technology Committee (ART) and the Family Law Section in front of the ABA’s House of Delegates, which voted today to ratify the Model Act Governing Assisted Reproduction 2019.

The 2019 Model Act represents a dramatic and important modernization of the 2008 version and will serve as a guide for lawmakers in the ever-increasing number of states seeking to pass laws governing assisted reproduction.

As immediate past chair of the ART Committee, I am well aware of the long path to reach this point, paved with tireless effort and shared wisdom of some of the best minds in this field of law.

Back in the early 1990s, colleague Steven Snyder, my predecessor as chair of the ART Committee, and Charlie Kindregan (predecessor to Steve’s chairmanship) saw the need for aspirational model legislation governing assisted reproduction. Together, we worked tirelessly on the ABA Model Act Governing Assisted Reproductive Technologies, which was passed by the ABA in 2008. Later, as Steven’s successor, I was privileged to work with many outstanding attorneys and advocates from our committee and other organizations to update the 2008 Model Act. Among those who were instrumental in drafting the act were the ABA Science and Technology Section and the ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, both co-sponsors, as well the ABA Health Law and Real Property Trusts and Estates sections, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the National LGBT Bar Association, and the Uniform Law Commission.

As I wrote in 2013 of the ongoing effort to update the Model Act:

Obtaining the ABA’s ratification of model legislation is a quite lengthy process. The ABA began work on the original Model Act in the 1990s; it was finally ratified in 2008. Not surprisingly, in the time between the drafting of the Act and its ratification, many things changed in this field of law and have continued changing since.

In fact, change is a constant in the field of ART law. We have seen incredible technological breakthroughs since the world’s first “test tube baby” was born in 1978, advances that have essentially altered human understanding of parenthood and family. New technologies such as stem cell engineering, and enhancements of mature technologies such as cryopreservation, have changed how, when and which humans may reproduce, as the pace of technological advancement accelerates.

Not surprisingly, science and growing consumer demand for the newest advanced fertility treatments outpaced the legal infrastructure. In many parts of the U.S., there were no laws regulating ART, and best practices were hammered out case-by-case in the courts. When the 2008 Model Act was ratified, it provided a tried-and-true template for legislators, and ideally the potential for increased uniformity in the laws from state to state. As I wrote in 2013:

…the work of the subcommittee in establishing uniformity and codifying best practices will help alleviate the confusion and stress experienced by intended parents and attorneys attempting to make sense of the patchwork of laws that vary from state to state…. Because family law is under the purview of the states, perfect uniformity may never be achieved, but development of an updated Model Act will be a big step in that direction.

The newly ratified Model Act adds newly defined terms and updated language throughout to make the act neutral as to gender and sexual orientation. It establishes baseline best practice standards and eligibility requirements for all types of surrogacy for the safety of all participants in assisted reproduction. The new act updates parental establishment provisions for gestational surrogacy to reflect current practice and, for the first time, addresses traditional / genetic surrogacy, which was not addressed at all in 2008 Model Act, including parental establishment provisions for traditional / genetic surrogacy as well.

The newly ratified 2019 Model Act stands as the prime example of best practices and requirements for the safety of all the participants in an assisted reproduction arrangement. It addresses gestational and genetic (formerly referred to as traditional) surrogacy in ways that mirror those best practices, create predictability for the participants and the attorneys that assist them. The act echoes the modern realities of current ART parentage practices while also protecting the integrity of the intended parent doctrine. I am proud of and grateful to the many legal professionals who devoted time and effort to crafting a Model Act that will benefit thousands of intended parents and families for years to come.

For the full text of Rich Vaughn’s presentation to the American  Bar Association House of Delegates, visit




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.