Rich Vaughn, IFLG: 'Love Makes A Family' Push to End New York Surrogacy Ban

New York Continues Push to End Surrogacy Ban as New States Enact Them

Governor Andrew Cuomo is standing by his commitment to eliminate the three-decade ban on commercial, or compensated, surrogacy in New York, one of two states in the nation that currently criminalize surrogacy.

On February 11, Cuomo and advocates for reproductive freedom launched the “Love Makes A Family” campaign (#LoveMakesAFamilyNY), which includes “creation of the Love Makes a Family Council, as well as a petition where New Yorkers can endorse the governor's proposal, a new campaign website, and video testimonials,” according to CNYCentral.com. Among the bill’s supporters was television personality Andy Cohen, a native New Yorker who recently became a father via surrogacy in California.

Cuomo frames ending New York’s surrogacy ban in part as an issue of LGBT rights. "New York was the first big state to pass marriage equality, and we are a national leader on LGBTQ rights," Cuomo said in a statement. Cuomo called it “shameful” that New York is one of the few states that do not allow “LGBTQ individuals and people struggling with fertility to use gestational surrogacy to start families."

As we wrote earlier this year, in addition to allowing gestational surrogates to be compensated for their time and pregnancy-related expenses, the proposed bill would institute the nation’s strongest protections in a “surrogates’ bill of rights” and streamline the second-parent adoption process required for non-biologically related parents to establish parental authority.

Cuomo’s administration has been pressing for these reforms for some time. In June 2019, the New York State Senate passed the bill, only to watch it run up against unexpected resistance from feminist activists and State Assembly progressives, as reported by The New York Times, and as we wrote about last year.

If supporters succeed in ending New York’s surrogacy ban in 2020, Michigan will be the only remaining state that criminalizes compensated surrogacy. However, unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the other 49 states are equally supportive of assisted reproduction and LGBT parentage. For example, in Indiana, Arizona and Nebraska, while surrogacy is technically legal, surrogacy agreements, which establish the rights and obligations of all parties and cover such issues as embryo reductions and early terminations, cannot be legally enforced. Louisiana, which historically had no surrogacy laws on the books, passed a law in 2016 restricting surrogacy to married heterosexual parents using their own genetic material. South Dakota, where surrogacy has historically been permitted, is currently the target of out-of-state anti-surrogacy forces looking to try and ban surrogacy in that state for a second time since 2012, the same forces that have fought pro-surrogacy legislation proposed several times in Minnesota, and the same forces that crop up and insert themselves into the debates wherever surrogacy legislation is proposed.

The variability of reproductive and parentage laws from state to state, and the continual, ongoing efforts by activist legislators to change state laws, create a minefield of uncertainties for intended parents, which is why consultation with an attorney experienced in U.S. ART law is essential.

Governor Cuomo’s continued support is encouraging to thousands of New Yorkers who face infertility and to same-sex couples who hope to become parents, even as new states move to enact restrictions. As the history of the civil rights and LGBT rights movements demonstrates, often the law must change before citizens’ hearts, minds and behavior are changed. As changes in the law make assisted reproductive technologies such as surrogacy more accessible to more people, public opposition to bans will grow. Organizations such as the American Bar Association and its Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Committee, of which I am a past chair, have been been critical in helping to pass uniform, common-sense state laws safeguarding the rights of surrogates, intended parents and, most importantly, children born via ART. With determination and hard work, we are confident New York will succeed in enacting those safeguards in 2020.

 

 

 

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.