ART for HIV+ Intended Parents is Hot Topic at Professional Conferences

I am fortunate to participate in two great professional conferences, both of which bring together some of the best minds in assisted reproductive technology to share best practices and advance knowledge in the field. The first, just ended on Saturday, Oct. 18, was the American Bar Association Family Law Fall Continuing Legal Education meeting held in Stowe, Vermont. The second, “Surfing the Waves of Change in Reproductive Medicine,” the annual conference of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), held in Honolulu, began Oct. 18 and will end on Wednesday, Oct. 22. I am honored to have been invited to present at both conferences on the topic of helping intended parents living with HIV become parents and the attendant legal considerations.

The earliest work in this field began in the late 1990s with the Bedford Research Foundation’s Special Program of Assisted Reproduction, or SPAR, (, which developed new methods for testing and preserving semen from men with HIV disease that nearly eliminated the risk of infection. In 1999, the first SPAR baby was born. In 2006, surrogacy and egg donation agency Growing Generations launched its HIV Assisted Reproductive Technologies program, or HART, ( The American Fertility Association also has played a leading role in outreach to HIV+ intended parents and public education with its “Dreams to Reality” initiative (, which aims to “provide the most cutting-edge thinking about HIV and parenthood for both patients and the dedicated healthcare professionals who treat them.” According to the American Fertility Association, “The first reports of sperm washing and insemination (IUI) for couples with HIV were published in 1992, and since that time over 5000 treatment cycles worldwide have been published utilizing both IUI and IVF with no reports of infection to the recipient.” (

Even though this work has been going on for some time, it is still considered cutting edge, even somewhat controversial, among fertility and ART professionals, as evidenced by its inclusion on the programs of both these leading conferences.

From a legal perspective, the two primary issues in assisted reproductive technology are (1) ensuring that the HIV status of the intended parent(s) is fully disclosed and the surrogate informed of any potential health risk and (2) ensuring that the privacy, and the legal requirement for privacy under HIPAA laws, is protected. For a more complete explanation of the legal issues involved in providing ART services to HIV+ intended parents, see the abstract of my presentation to the ABA CLE meeting, as well as a Power Point presentation I’ll use in my panel presentation on Wednesday, along with colleagues Kim Bergman, Ph.D. of Growing Generations; Bradford A. Kolb, M.D. of HRC Fertility – Pasadena; and Daniel Bowers, M.D., of Callen-Lorde Community Health Center.

Just as HIV has, thanks to advances in medical treatment, transitioned from a nearly always fatal disease to one that can be managed as a chronic condition, so, through advances in ART technology, has the opportunity for people living with HIV to become parents transitioned from impossible dream to viable reality—reason for celebration if there ever was one.

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.