Preparation and Planning Doubly Important for Single Intended Parents

Times have changed since Candace Bergen TV character Murphy Brown’s decision to have a child without the benefit of a husband scandalized middle class viewers and became an issue in a presidential election. But even though advances in assisted reproductive technology have given single prospective parents lots more options, the number of men and women choosing to go it alone remains relatively small. The reason, no doubt: The prospect of parenting a child alone, physically, mentally and financially, for 18 years or more is a daunting one. But for a mature, responsible adult who has considered the pros and cons, is willing to do some planning and preparation, and is genuinely committed to becoming a parent, ART can be an option.

For many single intended parents, one of the biggest obstacles is financial. As we wrote earlier in our article, Kansas Sperm Donor Trapped by DIY Insemination Loophole, women who want to conceive via sperm donation face a steep financial hurdle, sometimes motivating them to seek out informal arrangements that may result in unintended future consequences:

The motivation is often financial: artificial inseminations performed by a doctor or licensed fertility clinic can cost $3,000 or more—per round. Because artificial insemination often is not successful the first time, multiple rounds of insemination are sometimes required before pregnancy is achieved, the bill mounting by the thousands for each successive round.

For men who want to become fathers via surrogacy, egg donation and in vitro fertilization, the bill is even steeper. Each cycle with an egg donor can cost as much as $20,000. Medical care and other support for surrogates can add tens of thousands more to the cost.

And that’s all before the child is born. A single working professional will have to consider childcare costs, along with all the other associated costs of raising and educating a child.

Another challenge single parents face is the absence of a partner to turn to when being a mom or dad gets tough. All parents face physical challenges, such as getting up and getting to work each day after being up with a fussy baby all night, or juggling a demanding job with soccer practice and parent-teacher conferences. A couple, or co-parents, can take turns juggling; single parents have to be prepared to carry the entire load. Support of friends and family—a loving babysitter, a nearby grandmother—can make all the difference.

Single parents not only face the physical challenges of limited time and energy on their own, but the mental and emotional stresses that are part of parenting as well: the worry over a high fever, the tension of enforcing rules, the responsibility of comforting a child who has been teased at school. Sometimes the emotional challenges can seem tougher than the physical ones. Here again, close friends and family—someone to talk to—can make all the difference.

Despite the numerous challenges, many people do chose to parent alone. If you are considering taking this significant life-changing step, here are some things to consider before jumping in:

  • Plan ahead. Even for intended parents who are in a committed relationship, careful planning and preparation is essential. Research the assisted reproductive technologies available to you, including estimated costs, projected success rates, and expected time frame from beginning ART to birth. Pay off bills and make a “baby budget.” Don’t forget to allow for worst-case scenarios and unexpected expenses.
  • Line up your “pit crew.” Who will help you when the baby comes? Mom, a sister, close friends? Can you take time off work without endangering your financial wellbeing? What child care options are available to you if you plan to return to work?
  • Ensure your new family is legally secure. Becoming a single parent is no time to skimp on legal services. Ensure you have properly executed agreements with sperm donor, egg donor, surrogates or any other parties involved in your ART procedures. And consider your child’s future. Wills, estate planning and guardian arrangements are essential for any parent; for a single parent they are doubly so. Make sure your child is protected and provided for, regardless of what the future holds.
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.