Many LGBT intended parents and their families rejoiced in 2015, when the U.S. Supreme Court, in Obergefell v. Hodges, legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Finally, LGBT married couples would be treated the same as heterosexual married couples in the areas of parentage and...

The state of New York on April 1 passed a measure requiring insurance policies covering employee groups of 100 or larger to include coverage of in vitro fertilization, becoming the 10th state to require IVF coverage. The measure also includes expanded coverage for fertility preservation...

Growing obstacles to intercountry adoption have drastically reduced the number of children adopted by U.S. residents from other countries—making assisted reproduction an increasingly appealing alternative for many seeking to fulfill their dreams of parenthood.

The number of children from other countries adopted by U.S. residents plunged to an all-time low in 2018—just 4,059—down 82 percent from its peak in 2004. The decline in intercountry adoptions is not unique to the U.S. but is rather worldwide; however, the United States accounts for some half of all intercountry adoptions, including a high proportion of adoptions of children with special needs.

The causes of this drastic drop differ from country to country, ranging from changes in government policies, to social and political pressure arising from embarrassing headlines, to the growing affluence of emerging economies. The result of this confluence of factors has been to make it more difficult, more time-consuming and more costly for U.S. intended parents to adopt children from other countries—even as tens of thousands of children from all over the world remain in need of good homes.

The same demographic and political factors that are driving the decline in intercountry adoption have had the unintended consequence of increasing the appeal of assisted reproductive technology (ART) by comparison. As prospects for intercountry adoption over the past decade became more uncertain and legally difficult, more costly and, thanks to a few tragic and embarrassing incidents, less socially and politically acceptable, technologies such as in vitro fertilization and surrogacy have become more accessible and more cost-effective, gaining broad societal acceptance in many parts of the world as a solution for infertile individuals, single intended parents and same-sex couples.

Last month (March 14, 2019), the U.S. State Department released its FY 2018 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoptions, which shows that U.S. residents adopted just over 4,000 children through intercountry adoption from October 2017 through September 2018—a 13 percent drop from the previous year. Many adoption advocates, including the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (of which I am a fellow), have witnessed, with a heavy heart, that:

The majority of orphans denied intercountry adoption are not finding equal or better solutions in their country of birth; on the contrary, they are living and dying in institutions in ever-growing numbers. Research conclusively shows that the majority of those who survive the orphanage experience will experience permanent emotional and physical harm and will age out into a world that will exploit them in horrible and degrading ways.

New York advocates for reproductive freedom report progress in their efforts to end the state’s nearly three-decade ban on commercial surrogacy agreements. Despite ongoing organized opposition from far-right and anti-choice forces, on February 27, 2019, the New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee approved The Child Parent...

Amid so many gravely concerning headlines about immigration recently, at least one immigration story had a happy ending last week: A federal judge overturned the government’s earlier decision to deny U.S. citizenship to a twin boy born via IVF and surrogacy—while granting citizenship to his...

Vogue's March 2019 issue spotlighting California as the "center of everything" includes the article, "Fertile Ground," in which writer Jancee Dunn explores the state's role as a fount of advancements in assisted reproductive technology. As I discussed with the writer, the advantage probably dates back...

Following the historic 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, activists and social scientists speculated that more LGBT people would opt to become parents as a result. Less than four years later, a landmark study by the Family...

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...

Promising new research, published in the October 2018 issue of the journal Nature Communications, “could help today’s cancer survivors become tomorrow’s fathers,” as Today’s Kate Snow reported earlier this week. Cryopreservation, or freezing, of sperm or eggs has helped thousands of cancer patients preserve the ability...

As we prepare to welcome a new year, several recent events point to growing worldwide acceptance of, access to and affordability of assisted reproductive technology. The government of Ireland will, for the first time in history, allocate €1 million in 2019 to provide assisted reproductive services...

Colleagues in Netherlands celebrated this week the news that at least two Dutch IVF clinics plan to open their doors in 2019 to same-sex couples who want to become parents via surrogacy without the difficulty and expense of traveling abroad to do so. The news, first...

The identity documents required to establish parentage in California, where your baby was born via egg donation and surrogacy, may be different than what you will need if you move to Alabama or New York. Likewise, parents who travel from other countries for surrogacy in...

Huffington Post recently published an article by guest writer Lora Liegel about her experience as a legally married lesbian mom compelled to undergo “second-parent” adoption of her son, Finn, in order to protect her family and her own parental rights. As I have heard so...

Tens of thousands of LGBT Israelis and their allies took to the streets Sunday, protesting a new Israeli surrogacy law that denies gay men the right to become parents via surrogacy, even as it gives the green light to lesbian intended parents and single women. Israeli...

Under a new Arizona law, in divorce cases involving frozen embryos, courts are mandated to award custody of the embryos to the “spouse who intends to allow the in vitro human embryos to develop to birth”—even in the face of an existing disposition agreement. As...

This week, April 22 through 28, is National Infertility Awareness Week (https://infertilityawareness.org/). Established by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association in 1989, the week is a collaborative effort of consumers, legislators, advocacy organizations and fertility services professionals to raise public awareness about infertility and reproductive health....

Arizona legislators just passed, and GOP Governor Doug Ducey signed into law, SB 1397, an onerous new law with potentially disastrous impacts on the lives of intended parents; on the fields of family, divorce and ART law; and on the cause of reproductive freedom in...

­­Congratulations to Washington State, which just became the first state to enact UPA 2017, the updated Uniform Parentage Act for use by U.S. states as uniform legislation for parentage laws, including the parentage of children born via assisted reproductive technology. The new law, signed by...

For the past decade I have been involved as a member, board member, sponsor and active participant in Path2Parenthood (formerly known as the American Fertility Association), a national non-profit organization dedicated to helping people create families. The organization changed its name in 2014 as a...

We at International Fertility Law Group are proud, in partnership with Oregon Reproductive Medicine, to officially represent the United States in the field of fertility law at the second annual Kinderwunsch Tage, or Fertility Days, February 17 and 18, in Berlin. The event is designed for...

Nearly 30 years ago, in reaction to the notorious “Baby M” case, several states, including New Jersey, New York, Michigan and Washington, DC, banned paid surrogacy, declaring surrogacy agreements invalid. In April, Washington, DC, overturned its surrogacy ban, in effect since 1993. And in December,...

Peiya Wang
PEIYA WANG(王培娅)
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 SOSA
Paralegal

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
TONI HUGES
Paralegal

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
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
KIM DEVEREAUX
Paralegal

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
RICHARD B. VAUGHN
Founder

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, thoughtful and 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. He is immediate past chair of the American Bar Association ART Committee, which develops model legislation governing assisted reproductive services, and is a popular presenter to law students, faculty and advocacy organizations all over the world.

Elizabeth Tamayo
ELIZABETH TAMAYO
Paralegal

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.

Tania Steele
TANIA STEELE
Legal Assistant

Tania Steele joined IFLG as a legal assistant in early 2016 and has since been immersed in the complexities of assisted reproductive technology law. Tania received her Bachelor of Arts degree at Chapman University in Orange, California, and a graduate degree from University of Leicester in England, where she pursued an interest in art. In 2013, she accepted a volunteer position at Legal Aid Society of Orange County, where she helped with the intake of new clients and was inspired to obtain a paralegal certificate from Fullerton College. As an undergraduate, Tania lived in Italy and studied the Italian language. She is fluent in English, Spanish and Italian and enjoys assisting as a translator for many of IFLG’s international clients. Outside of the office, Tania enjoys concerts, films, reading and travel.

Linda Garrett
LINDA GARRETT
Legal Assistant

Linda Garrett graduated in 2010 from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, with a major in Sociology. Shortly after, she enrolled in a paralegal course at West Los Angeles College, where she fell in love with the field. In 2017, she earned her paralegal degree and joined International Fertility Law Group as a Legal Assistant. In her free time, Linda enjoys outdoor adventures and spending time with her nieces and nephews.

Sunny Chien
SUNNY CHIEN
Paralegal

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.