Rich Vaughn Blog: Ioan Gruffudd, Alice Evans at Illuminations 2016

Illuminations Honorees Evans, Gruffudd Warn About Biological Time Clock

Illuminations 2016, the annual awards gala of fertility advocacy organization Path2Parenthood (formerly American Fertility Association), held April 15 at the Four Seasons Los Angeles in Beverly Hills, was as inspiring as ever. The event honored fertility advocate and author Stuart Bell, co-owner of one of the largest surrogacy and egg donor agencies in the United States. Bell, who with his partner is father to a son born via egg donation and surrogacy, served for more than a decade on the Path2Parenthood board and has been an active supporter of Human Rights Campaign, Family Equality Council, Los Angeles LGBT Center and the LA Youth Network.

Also honored were actors Alice Evans and Ioan Gruffudd, who are using their high-visibility status to help communicate a critically important message to women and couples who want to have families: Don’t wait too late!

Evans and Gruffudd are stars in their own “happily-after-ever” story. They met cute on the set of 101 Dalmatians in 2000, fell in love and married in 2007, then continued building successful acting careers—Gruffudd staring in two Fantastic Four movies and in his own TV series, “Forever”; Evans working steadily in shows such as “The Vampire Diaries” and “Lost.”

With both busy in separate careers, it was easy for the couple to put off working on one of their most important goals, to have a big brood of kids. When they finally got serious about starting a family, Evans wrote in an article for The Daily Mail, she was 37, and they found themselves unable to conceive. After navigating through a maze of quack practitioners and bad advice, they finally sought medical help, only to learn they stood only a 20 percent chance of conceiving via IVF, at the hefty cost of $7,000 per cycle. They decided to take the chance, and despite the odds, had a daughter, Ella. They waited another year after Ella’s birth, then tried IVF again.

This time they were not so lucky. The first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seven cycles failed to produce a pregnancy. They had decided round eight would be their last. They had a second daughter, Elsie. Evans writes: “I’m writing now because if we’d started trying even three years earlier we might have avoided everything I’ve just told you about.”

Evans decided to share her story in hopes other women won’t make the same mistake, of thinking they have plenty of time, and family formation can wait. As we wrote in our 2012 article, “What’s Age Got to Do With It?”, there is a growing trend of people delaying family formation for career, financial or personal reasons. The miracle of ART, along with headlines about 40-something celebrities giving birth for the first time, has lulled many young people into believing they can put off have kids into middle age. But even with the amazing advancements of assisted reproductive technology, we humans are still subject to biological limitations. Eggs and sperm become less abundant, weaker and less viable as our bodies age, and the risk of complications rises with each year. Some one-third of couples in which the woman is older than 35 have fertility problems.

By sharing their story, Evans and Gruffudd are doing a tremendous service in helping inform young women and couples that even ART is not always able to overcome age-imposed biological limitations. Their frank advice will help counter the popular notion that technology has made the so-called “biological time clock” a thing of the past.

“I know how lucky I am,” Evans writes in The Daily Mail. “I won the lottery. I get to kiss goodnight to the two most precious human beings I’ve ever met.

“My goal now is to get the word out. Don’t wait until it’s too late.”

 

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.