Egg Donation and IVF Help Form Modern Families

“An estimated 6 million to 14 million children have a lesbian or gay parent.” (PFLAGupstatesc.org) Egg donation, surrogacy and IVF play a major role in forming these modern families who may not have had the opportunity to have children otherwise. Laura Cavin and Sheri Green, a same-sex couple from Naples, Florida, are a shining example of how assisted reproductive technology (ART) can help create a beautiful family.

Laura Cavin and Sheri Green struggled to form a family.  Cavin and Green always knew they wanted to have children together. On their first try with ART, Green provided her eggs and, with the use of donor sperm, the couple was overjoyed when they conceived. Shortly after a single embryo was transplanted into Cavin’s uterus for gestation, it split to form twins. Sadly, at 28 weeks a very rare condition known as twin-to-twin transfusion ended the pregnancy. Cavin and Green were devastated and discouraged. While the ART procedure had worked, they remained childless. Fortunately, the couple grew closer in overcoming the loss of their twin boys and discovered newfound hope and confidence in their ability to build a family together.

Round two was a huge success!  Laura Cavin and Sheri Green both went in for the procedure this time. Again, Green’s eggs were used with donor sperm. But this time, Cavin and Green both received two embryos to carry, in hopes of improving their odds for a successful pregnancy and birth. Dr. Craig Sweet, who performed the procedures said, “The chance that all four transferred embryos would implant and grow was less than 2 percent… We were all amazed when the improbable occurred.” (www.usatoday.com)

But the improbable happened. Cavin and Green both became pregnant with two babies each. Now the challenge was to carry and bring four babies into the world together.

The two excited mothers planned to deliver on the same day so the quadruplets would share a common birthday, but by now the unexpected had become a norm for this couple. On May 9, 2011, just 31 weeks into the pregnancy, a partially ruptured placenta sent Cavin in for an emergency c-section, and Brianna and Derrick, the first of the quads, were born. The strain on Green triggered her labor, and when contractions hit, she was hospitalized as well. Just two short weeks later, on May 23, the other two quadruplets, Anthony and Cason, joined the family.

Laura Cavin and Sheri Green raise hope for other lesbian couples yearning for family. Their experience with ART promotes a promising future for modern family formation. But creating the family is just the beginning. Now, Cavin and Green face a legal battle for parental rights. The state of Florida only recognizes parental rights for mothers who give birth to their children, and the state has for more than 30 years banned same-sex couple adoption. As a result, Cavin and Green are legal parents only to the two children each birthed. This prohibits Cavin and Green from sharing benefits such as health and life insurance with all four quadruplets. Unless each goes through the process of adopting the other’s two children, the quads, were one or both mothers to become incapacitated, could ultimately end up separated.

Cavin and Green decided that potential threat to their family was unacceptable. They decided to take their chances in court to fight the adoption ban to ensure a more stable future for their new family. As reported by USA Today, “A 2010 Florida appeals court ruling upheld a Miami-Dade County judge's decision that called the ban unconstitutional. Since that ruling, more than 150 cases have been approved in Miami-Dade. There are at least three cases pending in Lee [County]. Because filings aren't made public, it's unclear if there are others in Southwest Florida” (www.usatoday.com). Hopefully, the outcome of Cavin and Green’s case will be as favorable and encourage other same sex-couples to form “modern families.”

Resources:

http://www.pflagupstatesc.org/statistics.htm

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-05-12/lesbian-couple-legal-hurdles-quads/54929746/1

 

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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