In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Side Effects and Risks in Surrogacy

Even as in vitro fertilization and other types of assisted reproductive technology become increasingly effective and reliable, surrogates, egg donors and intended parents should be informed of potential IVF side effects and risks. A proper egg donation agreement and surrogacy agreement prepared by an experienced fertility lawyer are essential steps in assuring that all parties are fully informed about any potential risk.

For any woman, undergoing hormone injections in preparing for an egg retrieval procedure means accepting a certain amount of medical risks from the injections, the hormone medications and the retrieval itself (an invasive procedure).

Likewise, undergoing pregnancy and delivery means accepting a certain amount of medical risks—some minor, such as morning sickness or heartburn; others serious but rare, such as gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia. In most circumstances, with good IVF, prenatal and obstetric care, the risks are low.

Egg Donors Should Be Fully Informed of Potential Side Effects

Egg donors also should be fully informed of potential side effects associated with the egg harvesting process. Typically, egg donors self-administer fertility drugs in the weeks before the egg-harvesting procedure, with the potential for minor bruising and pain at the injection site and/or an allergic response to the medication. The drugs can also cause hormonal fluctuations, along with headaches or mood swings.

Potential Side Effects of IVF in Surrogacy

Most surrogacies today are gestational surrogacies, in which the surrogate is not genetically related to the baby. Rather, eggs, or oocytes, from the intended mother or an egg donor are fertilized outside of the womb using the sperm of the intended parent or a sperm donor, depending upon the circumstances. If the IVF process is successful, the resulting viable embryo(s) are implanted in the surrogate’s uterus.

For surrogates, there are additional potential risks associated with becoming pregnant via infertility treatment.

For the surrogate, side effects of the implantation process might include minor cramping or bleeding. Surrogates should remain in close contact with their doctors following the procedures to monitor for any possible signs of infection.

Experienced ART Legal Support Protects Surrogates, Egg Donors, Intended Parents

In any birth via surrogacy or other form of ART, all parties to the process—egg donor, sperm donor, surrogate, surrogate spouse or significant other, and intended parents, as the case may be—must have their own legal representation. Likewise, at each step in the process, parties should enter a legal agreement stating the rights, responsibilities and obligations of each.

Egg Donor and Surrogacy Agreements Assign Responsibility for Medical Costs

Among other provisions, an expertly drafted surrogacy agreement will establish responsibility for any pregnancy-related medical costs incurred by the surrogate. Typically, intended parents cover all medical costs related to the pregnancy or complications, if not covered by the surrogate’s own health insurance. Likewise, intended parents typically cover all medical costs related to the cycle medications, the egg retrieval, and any medical complications, as well as other reimbursable expenses as outlined in the agreement.

Our IFLG team of surrogacy attorneys and paralegals have helped thousands of intended parents, surrogates and donors to ensure they and their families are legally protected. Contact us for more information about IVF and other options for building a family via surrogacy.

Rich Vaughn
Rich 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.

Los Angeles

5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 645

Los Angeles, CA 90036

Phone:  +1 323 331 9343

Email:  info@iflg.net

Website:  www.iflg.net

New York

501 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1900

New York, NY 10017

Phone:  +1 844 400 2016

Email:  info@iflg.net

Website:  www.iflg.net

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.