Grant Promotes Donation of Frozen Embryos

Rich-Vaughn-Blog-Frozen-Embryo-Donation-GrantBoston IVF, a medical practice specializing in assisted reproductive technology (ART), has received a two-year, $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant is being used to promote donation of frozen embryos for use in training of fertility treatment providers and to help infertile individuals become parents. In collaboration with Brandies University, one of Boston IVF’s goals is to create educational programs targeted to both patients and the medical community.

“A major goal of the Frozen Embryo Donation Service is to develop training programs for infertility clinics, including physicians, nurses and mental health counselors, and facilitate new protocols to support embryo donation in the U.S.,” said Alison Zimon, MD, a Reproductive Endocrinologist at Boston IVF and Principal Investigator for this program. “At the same time, we are also creating education and support services for both potential donors and recipients, to promote embryo donation as an important option that can help thousands of infertility patients who cannot use their own eggs, sperm or embryos to achieve pregnancy.”

With more than a dozen IVF Centers located throughout New England, Boston IVF is one of the premier sites for leading edge reproductive technologies. Boston IVF has received two of the largest government grants issued for the study of fertility issues.

Funded through the Office of Population Affairs (OPA), a department of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health (OASH), the grant is offered as part of OPA’s frozen embryo adoption public awareness campaign. In 2011 four organizations, Boston IVF, Nightlight INC., National Embryo Donation Center, and Nightlight Inc. (services) received grants from OPA totaling $1.72 million.

Since funding began in 2002 the OPA’s frozen embryo adoption public awareness campaign has granted more than $20 million to six different organizations.

The embryo adoption program is authorized under Section 301 of the Public Health Service Act. In fiscal years 2002, and 2004 - 2010. Congress earmarked funding in the HHS [Health and Human Services] annual appropriations act for an embryo adoption public awareness campaign. The purpose is to educate Americans about the existence of frozen embryos (resulting from in-vitro fertilization) which may be available for donation/adoption for family building.

According to some estimates, there are as many as 600,000 healthy, viable frozen embryos that could be used to create families for couples unable to conceive. The embryos are the result of thousands of IVF cycles that have resulted in successful fertilization but in which the embryos have not been implanted and remain unused.

Frozen embryos that are unused may be donated to other patients, in an effort to help them achieve a natural pregnancy. At the present time, there are only a small portion of frozen embryos that are ever donated to other couples that are dealing with infertility. Many of the embryos that sit frozen will either remain in storage, or later be discarded entirely. The success rate for live births when implanting frozen embryos is thirty-five percent.

Frozen embryo adoption is a controversial issue, sometimes viewed as a solution by those who view creation of a viable embryo without implantation as tantamount to taking a life. Regardless of the political and ideological implications, the potential benefit to intended parents who might otherwise be unable to have a family is without question.

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.