Proposed new law would provide paid leave for IVF loss

A proposed law now before Congress would guarantee parents who undergo failure of fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or surrogacy, as well as those who lose babies through miscarriage or failed adoptions, have access to paid time off to recover and to grieve.

Despite the fact that some 10 to 15 percent of known pregnancies result in miscarriage, as reported by USA Today, societal attitudes and cultural norms have made such losses a sensitive, even taboo, topic, leaving many bereft parents to suffer in silence and isolation. Similarly, despite the growing numbers of families created today through assisted reproductive technology, many intended parents don’t discuss their fertility status openly, leaving them to grieve privately and alone when a procedure fails. To make the situation worse, there are little information and few resources available to educate the public about these “modern family” challenges and to support bereft parents.

Support Through Loss Act aims to combat stigma of pregnancy loss

Introduced in July by Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth and Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Presley, the Support Through Loss Act aims to shed light on the issue, combat stigma, and provide real, material help for parents. The law would require covered employers to provide three days of paid leave for parents who have experienced loss through miscarriage, in vitro fertilization or adoption failure, pregnancy or childbirth. The bill also includes $45 million per year for research into the causes of pregnancy loss and authorizes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to educate the public around pregnancy loss and how it can be treated.

Because there is little existing data on pregnancy loss, funding for research into the incidence and causes is needed to provide the information parents need, Pressley explained in a USA Today interview. “When you've already experienced such a disruptive and painful life event, and you were feeling the impacts of that loss, you're already feeling isolated. And then that can be compounded by the fact that, should you choose to navigate this on your own until you're ready to talk about it, the information is not readily available or accessible…. It's hard to believe that there has not been a much bigger response to something that has destabilized and traumatized.”

The medical profession does not have a clear understanding of the causes of miscarriage and stillbirth, Dana Sussman, deputy executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, told USA Today. Causes range from physical or genetic conditions to social factors such as poverty, lack of prenatal care, and medical discrimination. The lack of reliable data about what causes pregnancy loss has resulted in stigma and blame, Sussman said. 

One of the main goals of the bill, which has been referred to the House Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, is to help remove the stigma and silence associated with pregnancy loss, IVF failure or adoption. “It is my hope that through the Support Through Loss Act, that these families will feel seen,” Pressley said. “That includes those in their journey to start a family, to expand the family—we are naming miscarriage, we're naming surrogacy, fertility treatments. We want to be supportive of whatever your family model, in whatever way that your pregnancy journey, your journey to start or to expand your family, has been disrupted and you've suffered a traumatic loss—that you feel supported. You feel supported by your doctor, you feel supported by your family and community, and that you feel supported by your employer.”

Bill part of effort to modernize Family and Medical Leave Act

According to a representative from Duckworth’s office, the bill is part of a larger effort to “modernize and enhance the entire (Family and Medical Leave Act) framework,” which doesn’t take into consideration a range of pregnancy failures aside from miscarriages, which has led to “a complex and confusing patchwork of bureaucracy and regulations.”

Duckworth, whose two daughters were conceived via IVF, said she questioned whether she was to blame as she dealt with miscarriage and multiple failed IVF procedures. “Am I working too hard? Is it my fault because I waited so late in life to try to have children?

“I remember all the failed IVF cycles, you know, just getting my hopes up and then fail, you know, over and over and over and over again,” Duckworth said in a Newsy interview. “Much like 30 years ago, when we first started talking openly about breast cancer, we need to be openly talking about failed pregnancies.”

One of the greatest features of this proposed legislation is its inclusivity in providing support for parents experiencing the loss of a child, regardless of what means they were using to bring that child into their family. Intended parents are willing to make immense sacrifices time, money and emotion in creating a family through assisted reproduction. Likewise, adoptive parents typically undergo lengthy, arduous procedures and significant expense on their paths to parenthood. When they lose that child they were planning for, when their dreams of parenthood are dashed, or even temporarily postponed, of course they grieve, as any of us would grieve.

This bill not only supports parents in their loss, it shines a light on the fact that, although families today are created in all different ways, in our love for our children—and in our grief when we lose them—we are all more alike than different.

If you are considering becoming a parent using assisted reproductive technology, feel free to contact IFLG's experienced team of legal professionals for informaion on how to ensure your family is legally secure.








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 moved to the United States in 2012 to attend Northeastern 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, received her paralegal certification from UCLA Extension, and obtained her second Master of Science degree in Legal Studies from Loyola Law School. Peiya relocated back to her hometown, Beijing, China in 2019 and works from IFLG’s Beijing office. 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 which he received in 2013, 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. Luis has worked for IFLG in both Los Angeles as well as San Francisco, and is currently based in Dallas, Texas. 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.”


Kim has over 30 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 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.

Phoebe Sadler

Fertility law attorney Phoebe Sadler has a background in family law and has been practicing exclusively in the area of assisted reproduction technology (ART) law since 2018.

Rubina Aslanyan

Rubina has an extensive background in the legal field as a paralegal in Family Law and has worked in surrogacy and assisted reproduction law since 2012. Her area of focus is in managing and assisting clients with surrogacy, egg donation, and parental establishment cases for many of IFLG’s domestic and international clients. During her spare time, Rubina enjoys spending time with her family and dog Bella, traveling and cooking.

Alexander Espinoza
Legal Assistant

Alexander joined IFLG as a legal assistant in 2019, where he manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases. Alex is bilingual in English and Spanish and has been in the legal field for 23 years. Alex is excited to join the IFLG team and pursuing his will to help others in the reproductive law process. In his spare time he loves spending time with his family and friends, being outdoors, road trips, loves music and dancing.

Cara Stecker
Senior Paralegal

After receiving her paralegal certificate in 2005, Cara began working in assisted reproductive law. During the fifteen years Cara has worked in this field, she has gained a wide range of experience and knowledge that she uses to help better assist clients and those involved in the assisted reproductive journey. Cara’s primary roles involve managing parental establishment matters and coordination with IFLG’s Of Counsel attorney network, drafting contracts and parental establishment court documents and providing support to other team members. Cara finds great joy in being a small part of a team of caring people who help others achieve their dream of having a family. In her spare time, Cara enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, watching her children play the sports they love, and she enjoys, running, cycling and exploring the outdoors in the sun.

Stephanie Kimble

Stephanie received her BS in History and Political Thought from Concordia University Irvine in 2015 and her Paralegal Certificate from University of San Diego later that same year. She has been working as a Paralegal since 2016 in Family and Reproductive Law. She is excited to be part of International Fertility Law Group working on managing Surrogacy, Egg donation and Parental Establishment Cases.

Trish Pittman
Assistant Financial Coordinator

With more than 20 years of experience in the field of accounting, Trish joined the IFLG team in 2019 as Assistant Financial Coordinator. Her client-facing focus at IFLG is to assist with all client trust accounting. Trish is the mother of two daughters and enjoys spending time teaching and learning new things from them. In her free time, she loves long walks in the park and reading suspense and mystery novels.

Katie Deaquino
Senior Paralegal

Katie is a Senior Paralegal with IFLG and has dedicated over sixteen years to the areas of surrogacy and reproductive law. She received her Paralegal Certificate from Coastline Community College and has worked with some of the top law firms in the assisted reproduction community. Katie is also a commissioned Notary Public. With IFLG, Katie manages Surrogacy, Egg Donation, and Parental Establishment cases and provides support to other IFLG team members. Katie truly enjoys helping others build their families through assisted reproduction and is thankful she has had the rewarding experience of assisting IFLG clients. Katie often spends her free time with her Husband, four young children and her bulldog “Bella”.

Elsa Jimenez
Legal Assistant

Elsa joined IFLG as a Legal Assistant in 2019, bringing more than 35 years of experience working in the legal profession (concentrating in tort and litigation matters). At IFLG she assists surrogates with their surrogacy and parental matters. The oldest of five siblings, born and raised in East Los Angeles to Mexican immigrant parents, Elsa loves “seeing the beauty of families forming” through assisted reproductive technology. She and her husband Carlos have four children and one grandson. Elsa enjoys jazz and ’80s music, being outdoors in nature, collecting teacups and tea pots, and spending time with her close-knit family.