IVF or Adoption?

According to the 2009 Assisted Reproductive Technology report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “1.2 million women of reproductive age in 2002 had an infertility-related medical appointment in the prior year, and 10% of those women received infertility services at some point in their lives.” Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) has been used in the U.S. for over 30 years as a means for couples with fertility struggles to start a family. ART includes a variety of fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). Fertility treatments can be very costly, but when successful, result in the birth of a biologically related child—which is one reason parents may choose IVF over adoption.

In vitro fertilization offers a unique experience impacting couples financially, emotionally, and physically. “A single cycle IVF…costs from $7,000 to $15,000….” This may not include necessary medications or additional treatment options such as freezing embryos or sperm. In some cases IVF is also emotionally and physically draining. Like most infertility treatments, it does not offer instantaneous results, and many treatment cycles may be necessary. The New York Times reports, “…Sixty percent of couples who enter into infertility treatment come away with a biologically linked baby.”

But what about the other 40%, those couples may never conceive a child through in vitro? For many, adoption offers a welcome alternative and another chance to become a parent. However, the process of adoption also can be costly and time consuming. As MSNBC reports, “The reality of adoption is that, even under the best of circumstances, it can take years to bring a child home. And there’s the possibility of even further delays.” Sometimes, even in the most promising situations, adoptions fall through due to legal conditions or unexpected complications such as the birth mother’s deciding to parent or emotional strains, common for both adopted children and adopting parents.

Doctors and would-be parents constantly debate, and even agonize over, the question of when it is time to stop IVF treatments and to turn other options like third party reproduction choices or adoption. Assisted reproductive technologies today offer additional services beyond IVF. Third party arrangements like egg or sperm donation allow couples to use a healthy donor egg or donor sperm, coupled with their own egg or sperm to produce a child. These procedures can be useful when one of the parties is deemed infertile, has a genetic disorder, or is undergoing treatment that hinders the chances of pregnancy. Donation can also be used in conjunction with surrogacy when carrying the child is risky. The CDC reports an average life birth rate per transfer of 43% for all egg donor programs (asrm.org/factsheet).

Gestational surrogacy is also on the rise. With this ART method, parents transfer their embryos, created through IVF, to a surrogate to gestate and, hopefully, to carry the pregnancy. This is a great way to avoid attachment issues for the surrogate, as she is not genetically linked to the child. Meredith Olafson, gestational surrogate for 11 children, recently expressed her feelings about this type of ART solution to ABC News. “It is easier on families, too, knowing they are their kids—and for my family, knowing they are not related to them.” As with all surrogacy arrangements, legal agreements and financial obligations should be addressed during the matching process to simplify the process.

Ultimately, the decision falls primarily to the parent or couple, who must take into consideration their unique set of circumstances. For thousands of parents for whom adoption once would have been the only option, assisted reproductive technology offers new avenues to parent a biologically related child. ART solutions are on the rise. The Society for Reproductive Technology reports U.S. success rates for some types of ART in excess of 55% in 2010. As the CDC reports, “The number of ART cycles performed in the United States has increased… In 2009, 60,190 infants were born, which was nearly two times higher than the 35,025 born in 2000.”  (cdc.gov/ART2009.pdf) The bottom line: assisted reproductive technology strategies and adoption are equally valid routes to becoming a parent, and a deeply personal choice that only the prospective parent or parents can make.







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.

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.