Mindy Berkson, Rich Vaughn, IFLG, and Tommy Woelfel at RESOLVE Night of Hope 2019

RESOLVE ‘Night of Hope’ Celebrates Advocates for Infertility Treatment

I had the great pleasure Monday night, November 11, to attend the 2019 RESOLVE Night of Hope dinner in New York. The Night of Hope is the official awards gala and fundraiser for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, which is dedicated to improving the lives of women and men living with infertility. Each year, the organization recognizes organizations, companies and individuals who have made significant contributions to help alleviate the pain and stigma of infertility. Among the evening’s honorees were friends and colleagues Risa Levine and Susan Crockin. My spouse, Tommy, and I were honored to join Susan at her table, along with a number of ART attorney colleagues.

Risa A. Levine, a fellow attorney and long-time advocate for reproductive rights, received RESOLVE’s 2019 Barbara Eck Founder’s Award. Among her many efforts, Risa has worked to secure federal insurance coverage for infertility treatment and with RESOLVE advocating for The Family Act, a bill which provided a tax credit for infertility-related medical treatment. This year, Risa worked to ensure coverage for IVF is included in the New York State budget, which would provide an additional 2.5 million New Yorkers with affordable infertility treatment. Today, Risa is working to legalize compensated gestational surrogacy arrangements in New York State and to obtain full coverage for infertility treatment and family building options for veterans injured in the line of duty. She has served for many years as Chair of RESOLVE’s Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill and in 2010 chaired RESOLVE’s Congressional Briefing.

Our friend and colleague Susan Crockin received RESOLVE’s 2019 Hope Award for Achievement. Susan is the founder, in 1988, of one of the first U.S. law firms focused exclusively on adoption law and assisted reproductive technology (ART) law. In addition to her private practice, she is highly regarded as a teacher and researcher. She teaches domestic and international ART law at Georgetown Law Center and holds appointments as a Senior Scholar at Georgetown’s O’Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law and as a Research Assistant Professor at Georgetown’s Kennedy Institute of Ethics, where she is currently working to develop an inter-disciplinary Legal-Ethics curriculum for ObGyn residents and REI fellows.

Susan was a founding member of ASRM’s Legal Professional Group and the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys, is a former board member of RESOLVE, and a current member of SART’s Model Consent Committee. She writes for  ASRM’s “Legally Speaking,” a column she created in 1990, and has published numerous journal articles, book chapters and three books, including, with the late Dr. Howard Jones, “Legal Conceptions: Evolving Law and Policy of the ARTs.”

Other Night of Hope honorees included renowned reproductive endocrinologist Richard V. Grazi, MD; neuroscientist Katie Lelito; reproductive endocrinologist and social media maven Natalie Crawford, MD; LinkedIn; Target, and ABC News, for its documentary series on infertility and family building, “Modern Baby.” All have fascinating stories; all are richly deserving. (Read more about them here.)

My firm, International Fertility Law Group, Tommy and I are proud to support RESOLVE and its work on behalf of people living with infertility. In 1989, when ART was still in its infancy, RESOLVE launched National Infertility Awareness Week (https://infertilityawareness.org/), a collaborative effort of consumers, legislators, advocacy organizations and fertility services professionals to raise public awareness about infertility and reproductive health. Since then the organization not only has provided resources and services for thousands of people, it has played a major role in elevating the issues of infertility and reproductive rights. As we wrote a couple of years ago, “assisted reproduction and reproductive rights continue to be targets of social and religious conservatives.” That statement could be written today, unfortunately, and the voices and tireless efforts of organizations such as RESOLVE remain as vitally important as ever.

 

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.