Egg Donation: A major role in treating infertility

In approximately 12 percent of all Assisted Reproductive Technology, or ART, cycles performed in 2009, 17,697 cycles used donor eggs or embryos to conceive according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Egg donation is the process in which a willing participant (donor) gives her eggs to another woman (recipient) to create a pregnancy using in vitro fertilization (IVF). This process may be used to impregnate an infertile mother or a surrogate. Egg donation helps conceive a child who is genetically linked both to the donor and the recipient parents (assuming the recipients contribute sperm for the IVF cycle).

Over the past 25 years this ART method has risen to the infertility challenge. Egg donation still comes with psychological and physical risks for donors and recipients; however, the wealth of information gained through clinical trials and advancements in technology have allowed specialists to create a smooth process for all parties. Agencies like Growing Generations act as a liaison for donors and recipients. They collect the information necessary from donors and deliver it to prospective recipients. This connection is the first step for recipients seeking a donor.


Many recipients don’t consider egg donation until it is suggested by a fertility physician. Recipients may learn they are unable to conceive due to conditions such as early menopause or ovarian complications. Recipients like Joyce McFadden give up hope after seemingly endless runs with natural conception and IVF attempts. Egg donation offers them the possibility of carrying a child with a genetic link to their partner. McFadden recalled:

“I stopped counting surgeries and procedures after the seventh in vitro. And still, 104 times my period came… As my chances of conceiving continued to fade, I spent a couple of those years reluctantly contemplating the idea of donor eggs, and weighing my ambivalence about carrying another woman's baby against never having the chance to carry one at all.” (

Ultimately, McFadden elected to look into the donation process and work through her ambivalence. She was pleasantly surprised with the donors available, selected an anonymous donor, and conceived with the aid of a donor egg.

Egg recipients and donors alike face a unique blend of physical and emotional trials. They must consider up front what type of donor-recipient relationship is best for them and their families—a “known” or “anonymous” donor agreement. A “known” donor is someone you would like to meet, speak with, or have the option of contacting in the future. An “anonymous” egg donor agreement indicates no future contact between the recipient and donor. Either way, expert legal counsel is strongly recommended to ensure all the details and contracts are properly executed. (


Today, donors attend multiple medical appointments to evaluate their psychological, physical and gynecological standing to be accepted. Things like medical and family history, laboratory screenings for infectious diseases or hereditary conditions, and psychological exams are common, so that the recipients gain a full view of the donor’s past and possible genetic permutations after conception. Many agencies also gather information about the donor’s educational achievements, musical abilities, athletic talents, and physical appearance to ensure a good fit for the recipient family. While these traits may not be hereditary, they may be indicators of the psychological nature of a person.

After a donor completes the initial screening process and is selected by a recipient, the final treatment for donation begins. Medication is used for a few weeks to temporarily halt the donor’s ovaries from functioning. A “fertility drug” is then used to stimulate multiple eggs in a single cycle; the eggs are removed from the donor, evaluated by an embryologist, and used to help the recipient conceive through in vitro fertilization (IVF). Donors may face physical risks like hot flashes, fatigue, sleeping problems, mood swings, headaches, or ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS) and are advised to keep regular contact with their physicians and the donor agency during the egg donation process. (

Physically, the task of removing the eggs seems trivial when compared to the goal of helping an infertile couple build a family. Donors are generally driven by the prospect of aiding couples that have lost all hope of having a child naturally or through other ART procedures. Egg donation is expensive because donor selection, screening, and treatment add additional costs to the IVF procedure. However, the relatively high live birth rate for egg donation, over 50% nationally, provides many couples with their best chance for success. Many specialists and physicians agree, “Oocyte and embryo donation are here to stay and will continue in a major role for treating intractable fertility problems.” (



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.