Blog

I was highly honored recently, in my capacity as chair of the ART Committee of the American Bar Association's Family Law Section, to receive the ABA Family Law Section Chair's Cup award, presented by outgoing Section Chair Greg Ortiz. The award was presented jointly to me and my...

With the growing use of cryopreservation, a method of freezing for future use eggs, sperm or embryos, we’re also seeing a growing amount of litigation resulting from disagreements as to their disposition. Sometimes a couple freezes eggs or sperm for medical reasons, such as cancer treatment, or merely in order to delay starting a family until a more opportune time. If the couple later separates, the partners may disagree about whether the eggs, sperm or embryo should be destroyed or preserved, how and when they can be used, and who has the right to make that decision.

Although such cases are still relatively uncommon (most people resolve these matters privately), as the technology improves and becomes more accessible to more people, it’s reasonable to assume such disagreements will occur more often. And as the law stands now, it’s anyone’s bet how these cases will wash out: in this area of law, it’s still the wild, Wild West.

Many couples sign a consent agreement or medical consent form, usually provided by their fertility agency, when they undergo egg or sperm harvesting or in vitro fertilization. Often, the clinic documents don’t cover what happens in the case of separation or divorce. Few intended parents go to a fertility thinking about what will happen if they get a divorce—most don’t want to think about it. However, it is incumbent upon the fertility services providers to make sure all eventualities are covered in these documents, and these intending parents must also be advised to carefully consider all eventualities before cryopreserving their genetic material.

But as things stand today, even the existence of a medical consent form addressing embryo disposition doesn’t rule out the prospect of conflict and litigation. Sometimes the court honors these consent forms, but not always.

The UK Court of Appeal this week took steps to clear the way for a mother to help carry out the last wishes of her dying daughter to be a mother.From the UK Court of Appeal decision:The appellants’ daughter, A, was only 21 years old...

After a valiant five-year battle, U.S. Senator Patty Murray succeeded last month in winning Senate approval of an $88 million appropriation over the next two years to pay for fertility treatments for wounded veterans whose injuries, such as genital or spinal cord injuries, resulted in their...

The UK High Court ruled today that UK’s surrogacy law, which bans single people from becoming legal parents via surrogacy, is in breach of the nation’s human rights laws, said colleague Natalie Gamble, who represented the single biological father of baby boy “Z” who brought...

A recent episode of NBC medical drama Chicago Med, (Season 1 Episode 15, “Inheritance”) set in the emergency room of Gaffney Chicago Medical Center, portrayed a scenario that was both completely unrealistic and showed assisted reproductive technology and surrogacy in an extremely negative light.In a...

Illuminations 2016, the annual awards gala of fertility advocacy organization Path2Parenthood (formerly American Fertility Association), held April 15 at the Four Seasons Los Angeles in Beverly Hills, was as inspiring as ever. The event honored fertility advocate and author Stuart Bell, co-owner of one of...

The demand for assisted reproduction technology services is exploding. Of the nearly 2.7 million babies born in the United States in 2008, at least 38,496 (1.44 percent) were born via some form of ART. The financial cost to Intended Parents seeking to create a family...

As more and more intended parents seek to create families via international surrogacy, national governments have been forced to consider their rules for parental recognition and citizenship of the resulting children. All too often children born via international surrogacy have been denied citizenship in their...

Parties in a long-standing class action lawsuit against two non-profit organizations serving assisted reproductive technology providers and egg donor agencies finally settled recently in an agreement that some say may result in increased fees for egg donors in the future.In the suit, filed by two...

Former supermodel Tyra Banks and Norwegian photographer Erik Asla announced this week the birth of their son via assisted reproductive technology (ART) and surrogacy.Banks had made no secret of the fact that she, like many career women of her generation, repeatedly put off having children...

A growing number of couples are turning to crowdfunding to help finance their efforts to become parents via assisted reproductive technology procedures, San Francisco’s Bay News 9 and New York Post reported recently. Intended parents are raising thousands of dollars toward ART procedures or adoption...

Reciprocal IVF (in vitro fertilization) often is chosen by lesbian couples who want to have a child together. In a typical reciprocal IVF scenario, one partner provides the eggs, the other gestates, or becomes pregnant and carries the baby, so that both women have a...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced earlier this week that it is lifting its three-decade-old rule prohibiting gay and bisexual from donating blood. However, the agency said it will continue to prohibit blood donations from men who have had sex with men during the...

A law professor at Stetson University in Tampa, Florida, is suing the IRS to treat his and his partner’s assisted reproductive technology costs in the same way it has treated infertility treatment expenses for heterosexual couples. The outcome of the case could have a significant...

It’s common knowledge that the world’s rainforests contain untold millions of plants and animals that may hold miraculous cures for innumerable human ailments. A study by a group of UC Santa Barbara scientists, published recently in the journal Science, found that infection with a parasitic roundworm...

A San Francisco court upheld earlier this week an agreement that frozen embryos created via in vitro fertilization during a couple’s marriage would be discarded in the event of their divorce.Before undergoing fertility treatments at University of California, San Francisco, the couple, Mimi Lee and...

The case of William Marotta, perhaps better known as the “Kansas sperm donor” whom the state is pursuing for child support as the biological father, via sperm donation, of a daughter born to a lesbian couple, is still wending its way through the courts.Here is...

I am honored to participate in Family-Building Options for LGBT People, a free seminar presented by my colleague, fertility doctor Dr. Guy Ringler. If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and are considering becoming a parent via assisted reproductive technology, here’s your chance to...

The Texas Department of State Health Services made headlines last month when it revealed in a court filing that it would begin allowing same-sex parents’ names on children’s birth certificates—although it may be months before official birth certificate forms using gender-neutral designations for parents are...

Since the June U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states, some LGBT intended parents who want to create families via surrogacy, egg donation or other forms of assisted reproductive technology have gotten the mistaken idea that being legally married means they...

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, thoughtful and 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. He is immediate past chair of the American Bar Association ART Committee, which develops model legislation governing assisted reproductive services, and is a popular presenter to law students, 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.

Tania Steele
TANIA STEELE
Legal Assistant

Tania Steele joined IFLG as a legal assistant in early 2016 and has since been immersed in the complexities of assisted reproductive technology law. Tania received her Bachelor of Arts degree at Chapman University in Orange, California, and a graduate degree from University of Leicester in England, where she pursued an interest in art. In 2013, she accepted a volunteer position at Legal Aid Society of Orange County, where she helped with the intake of new clients and was inspired to obtain a paralegal certificate from Fullerton College. As an undergraduate, Tania lived in Italy and studied the Italian language. She is fluent in English, Spanish and Italian and enjoys assisting as a translator for many of IFLG’s international clients. Outside of the office, Tania enjoys concerts, films, reading and travel.

Linda Garrett
LINDA GARRETT
Legal Assistant

Linda Garrett graduated in 2010 from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, with a major in Sociology. Shortly after, she enrolled in a paralegal course at West Los Angeles College, where she fell in love with the field. In 2017, she earned her paralegal degree and joined International Fertility Law Group as a Legal Assistant. In her free time, Linda enjoys outdoor adventures and spending time with her nieces and nephews.

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.