IFLG AI Poised to Revolutionize the Future of IVF Rich Vaughn

AI Poised to Revolutionize the Future of IVF

In 1978, pioneered by gynecologist Patrick Steptoe and physiologist Robert Edwards, the world’s first IVF baby, Louise Joy Brown, was born in Manchester, England. The news of the first “test tube” baby made global headlines and at the time was likened to something out of a science fiction movie. Fast forward more than 40 years, and IVF has not only become a household name but also a mainstream medical procedure resulting in over 8 million babies having been born worldwide. As it has grown in popularity for intended parents struggling with infertility, an increasing number of employers in the U.S. are now offering fertility treatment coverage, and states are passing fertility health insurance coverage mandates as well. As a result, more and more intended parents are aware of their fertility options and benefits, leading to a drastic increase in the number of IVF cycles being performed.

Surprisingly, some systems in place for creating, storing, and choosing viable embryos have not changed much in 40 years, leading to an outdated approach unable to keep up with demand and other areas of fertility, which have improved drastically with modern technology. Now, newly developed Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology in the fertility world stands to change the way the industry operates these outdated systems and in doing so, may influence IVF success rates, the accuracy of cataloging frozen gametes, and lessen the overall cost of fertility treatments.

New Automated Robotics Helps Track Eggs and Embryos

Many cryobanks still operate by using handwritten labels and manual inventory checks and storage procedures and are only able to provide patients with limited access to specimen data. These outdated tracking systems create the potential for losses and mix-ups, and, although extremely rare, it does happen.

CNN reported in 2021 a mix-up in which two women received the wrong embryos during IVF and unknowingly carried and gave birth to children who weren’t theirs. Suspicions were confirmed after DNA testing proved the mix-up, but only after each woman cared for a baby that wasn’t theirs for several months.

Then earlier this month, FOX LA reported that a couple had launched a lawsuit with allegations of transferring the wrong embryo with a cancer-causing gene to an intended parent, resulting in a baby boy who now carries the deadly stomach cancer-causing gene. Both parents, who carry cancer-causing genes, had specifically sought out IVF instead of conceiving naturally so that neither gene would be passed on to their child. The mother tells FOX LA, “We wanted our children to not have any worry regarding these types of genetic mutations that we carry, so we tried to do everything in our power to give them a fighting chance at life with a healthy life.”

Thankfully, new automated technology is transforming the way frozen eggs and embryos are stored and tracked, possibly preventing any future losses or mix-ups. TMRW Life Sciences, a life sciences technology company, is using automated robotics to digitally identify and track frozen eggs and embryos while allowing patients the ability to monitor their eggs and embryos remotely 24 hours a day. The company gives instant access to embryo grading and egg maturity and even allows online payment for storage fees. 

Artificial Intelligence May be Capable of Choosing the Healthiest Embryo

There is a multi-step approach before IVF can even begin. Eggs must be retrieved from the patient’s ovaries, and sperm must be collected. Eggs and sperm are combined to create embryos, which are then matured in labs for several days. Embryos are then graded based on appearance, size of their cells, and the rate of development, and if elected by the patients, embryos can be further tested for viability and chromosomal abnormalities (such testing is invasive, and it is generally referred to as “PGD” – short for pre-implantation genetic diagnostics).

According to IEEE Spectrum, however, there are several problems with this approach. David Silver, a machine learning engineer and one of the co-founders of the AI start-up Embryonics, tells IEEE Spectrum, “One is that the embryologists’ ability to collect data is limited. The amount of data about embryos, past patients, and successful live births available to any single doctor is very small, so it’s hard for them to generalize [about] what indicates that a fertilized egg is viable.”

As a result, many decisions for choosing a healthy embryo are solely based on each individual doctor’s experience with what worked and what didn’t work with past patients. Dr. Yael Gold-Zamir, CEO and one of the co-founders of Embryonics, tells IEEE Spectrum, “Many complicated decisions are made based on the doctor’s gut feeling, which is based on all the cases they have seen in their career.” Depending on their individual experience in the medical field, two embryologists may look at the same embryo and grade it differently.

With the development of AI algorithms, embryologists may now have some help in alleviating some of the guesswork when it comes to choosing healthy embryos. AI may also offer an overhaul of an outdated system that has not advanced in almost 40 years.  According to National World News, researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine University have been developing an algorithm through AI that helps with healthy embryo selection with an accuracy of 70 percent. The algorithm determines whether an embryo has normal chromosomes or abnormal chromosomes, called aneuploidy, which aids in the selection of the embryo that has the best chance of implantation leading to a successful pregnancy. This method not only offers better accuracy but does not require a biopsy of the embryo, which not only adds cost to the IVF process but is also invasive to the embryo.

Dr. Iman Hajirasouliha, Computational Genomics, and Associate Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at Weill Cornell Medicine, and lead study author, tells National World News, “Our hope is that eventually, we can predict in a completely non-invasive way using artificial intelligence and computer vision techniques.”

Other algorithms classify images of embryos by comparing the patient’s medical information including age and health conditions and compare the patient’s data with past patients who had successful and unsuccessful implantations. The more data the algorithm collects from each patient, the more data it has to make science-backed decisions.

AI May Make IVF Cheaper and More Accessible to Future Intended Parents

A single round of IVF in the United State can cost anywhere from $12,000 to $15,000, and, with multiple rounds of IVF often needed to create a successful pregnancy, the compiling costs mean IVF is financially out of the question for many intended parents.

AI applications have the potential to minimize the number of IVF cycles with objective analysis and the ability to see differences in embryos that the human eye can’t see. As we reported in 2021, a fertility clinic in the UK tested out the AI algorithm VIOLET and found the algorithm’s predictions for healthy embryos to be 12 to 18 percent more accurate than their own embryologists. Higher accuracy for healthy embryo selection could reduce the number of IVF cycles needed for live birth, making it more affordable for everyone.

Using AI may also make Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) more inclusive to the younger generation who wish to preserve their fertility. At present, ART is focused largely on patients struggling with infertility, but as AI continues to grow, Dr. Gerard Letterie, a reproductive endocrinologist and partner at Seattle Reproductive Medicine, predicts that this new patient segment will be interested in preserving their fertility by creating and freezing embryos for future use. He tells Forbes, “This will markedly expand the number of patients seeking care with assisted reproductive technologies.”

With more people seeking fertility care, the global IVF market is expected to reach $36 billion by 2026. Dr. Letterie goes on to tell Forbes that he predicts that there “simply won’t be enough embryologists to address the rising demand” for ART. With a possible embryologist shortage, AI may be able to help with the growing demand by helping embryologists determine viable embryos faster and with more accuracy, which can maximize successful outcomes and reduce the time it takes for intended parents to conceive.

As AI paves a new path in fertility treatment, opportunity rises for a more diverse group of people who may not normally have access to care. AI will ultimately take the guesswork out of assisted reproductive technologies by providing science-backed data, removing human error, and in the process making services cheaper and safer, giving everyone, regardless of geographic, racial, or socio-economic background, an equal stake in the fertility world.







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 moved to the United States in 2012 to attend Northeastern 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, received her paralegal certification from UCLA Extension, and obtained her second Master of Science degree in Legal Studies from Loyola Law School. Peiya relocated back to her hometown, Beijing, China in 2019 and works from IFLG’s Beijing office. 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 which he received in 2013, 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. Luis has worked for IFLG in both Los Angeles as well as San Francisco, and is currently based in Dallas, Texas. 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.”


Kim has over 30 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 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.

Los Angeles

5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 645

Los Angeles, CA 90036

Phone:  +1 323 331 9343

Email:  info@iflg.net

Website:  www.iflg.net

New York

501 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1900

New York, NY 10017

Phone:  +1 844 400 2016

Email:  info@iflg.net

Website:  www.iflg.net

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.

Phoebe Sadler

Fertility law attorney Phoebe Sadler has a background in family law and has been practicing exclusively in the area of assisted reproduction technology (ART) law since 2018.

Rubina Aslanyan

Rubina has an extensive background in the legal field as a paralegal in Family Law and has worked in surrogacy and assisted reproduction law since 2012. Her area of focus is in managing and assisting clients with surrogacy, egg donation, and parental establishment cases for many of IFLG’s domestic and international clients. During her spare time, Rubina enjoys spending time with her family and dog Bella, traveling and cooking.

Alexander Espinoza
Legal Assistant

Alexander joined IFLG as a legal assistant in 2019, where he manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases. Alex is bilingual in English and Spanish and has been in the legal field for 23 years. Alex is excited to join the IFLG team and pursuing his will to help others in the reproductive law process. In his spare time he loves spending time with his family and friends, being outdoors, road trips, loves music and dancing.

Cara Stecker
Senior Paralegal

After receiving her paralegal certificate in 2005, Cara began working in assisted reproductive law. During the fifteen years Cara has worked in this field, she has gained a wide range of experience and knowledge that she uses to help better assist clients and those involved in the assisted reproductive journey. Cara’s primary roles involve managing parental establishment matters and coordination with IFLG’s Of Counsel attorney network, drafting contracts and parental establishment court documents and providing support to other team members. Cara finds great joy in being a small part of a team of caring people who help others achieve their dream of having a family. In her spare time, Cara enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, watching her children play the sports they love, and she enjoys, running, cycling and exploring the outdoors in the sun.

Stephanie Kimble

Stephanie received her BS in History and Political Thought from Concordia University Irvine in 2015 and her Paralegal Certificate from University of San Diego later that same year. She has been working as a Paralegal since 2016 in Family and Reproductive Law. She is excited to be part of International Fertility Law Group working on managing Surrogacy, Egg donation and Parental Establishment Cases.

Trish Pittman
Assistant Financial Coordinator

With more than 20 years of experience in the field of accounting, Trish joined the IFLG team in 2019 as Assistant Financial Coordinator. Her client-facing focus at IFLG is to assist with all client trust accounting. Trish is the mother of two daughters and enjoys spending time teaching and learning new things from them. In her free time, she loves long walks in the park and reading suspense and mystery novels.

Katie Deaquino
Senior Paralegal

Katie is a Senior Paralegal with IFLG and has dedicated over sixteen years to the areas of surrogacy and reproductive law. She received her Paralegal Certificate from Coastline Community College and has worked with some of the top law firms in the assisted reproduction community. Katie is also a commissioned Notary Public. With IFLG, Katie manages Surrogacy, Egg Donation, and Parental Establishment cases and provides support to other IFLG team members. Katie truly enjoys helping others build their families through assisted reproduction and is thankful she has had the rewarding experience of assisting IFLG clients. Katie often spends her free time with her Husband, four young children and her bulldog “Bella”.

Elsa Jimenez
Legal Assistant

Elsa joined IFLG as a Legal Assistant in 2019, bringing more than 35 years of experience working in the legal profession (concentrating in tort and litigation matters). At IFLG she assists surrogates with their surrogacy and parental matters. The oldest of five siblings, born and raised in East Los Angeles to Mexican immigrant parents, Elsa loves “seeing the beauty of families forming” through assisted reproductive technology. She and her husband Carlos have four children and one grandson. Elsa enjoys jazz and ’80s music, being outdoors in nature, collecting teacups and tea pots, and spending time with her close-knit family.