ART Professionals Share Info for Surrogates, Intended Parents Navigating COVID-19

I was honored to participate recently in a national surrogacy professionals COVID-19 webinar designed to share information and best practices to help surrogates and intended parents plan and cop during the crisis.

Originally, I had planned to join the webinar from our IFLG New York office, but in the face of widening travel bans and the California governor’s stay-at-home order I joined in from our office in Santa Monica. Joining me on the webinar were Alison Wilson, Ph.D.; Dr. Eve C. Feinberg, Northwestern Medicine Fertility and Reproductive Medicine; Sarah Page, ARTRISK; Steve Snyder, Esq., IARC; Dr. Said Daneshmand, San Diego Fertility Center; Jennifer White, Colorado Surrogacy – SEEDS; Wendie Wilson, Gifted Journeys – SEEDS; and Dean Hutchison, Circle Surrogacy – American Bar Association.

My contribution to the conversation covered three areas of legal concern for intended parents and/or surrogates:

  • The financial and legal ramifications of delaying procedures and cycles, in addition to medical and health considerations
  • Intended parents’ travel and admission to the United States from other countries for their babies’ birth
  • Intended parents’ travel with their new babies from the U.S. and admission to their home countries

Among the issues of concern for intended parents and surrogates whose plans have been disrupted by the pandemic are cancelled cycle fees contained in surrogacy agreements; unexpected expenses such as extended travel schedules or additional insurance caused by the unprecedented situation; potential lost wages; and isolation periods imposed at either leg of intended parents’ journey. With consulates and public agencies operating on reduced schedules or limited staffing, advance planning is important to determine policies and obtain necessary documents. In some cases, intended parents prevented from traveling to their babies’ births will need to make guardianship and fostering arrangements.

As my colleagues and I work to help intended parents, donors and surrogates navigate the confusing waters of this pandemic, we will continue to share our discussions and best ideas. As I reminded the group, while our hearts go out to our clients who find themselves in this tough situation through no fault of their own, we also have great confidence in their resilience and perseverance. As all of us fortunate enough to work in this exciting field of assisted reproductive technology know, intended parents and surrogates are committed, focused and determined. They have been through months and years of ups and downs; they have researched and prepared; they have spent thousands of dollars on fertility services. COVID-19 is not an insignificant obstacle on their road to parenthood, but it is one that all of us, working together, will get through.

Stay tuned for our next COVID-19 surrogacy professionals webinar, to be recorded Thursday, March 26.

 

 

Rich Vaughn
Richard Vaughn
rich@iflg.net

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
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, 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 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.

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.

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Molly O'Brien
MOLLY O'BRIEN
Partner

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.