Rich Vaughn, IFLG Blog: New Year Baby State of ART

The State of ART 2019

As we prepare to welcome a new year, several recent events point to growing worldwide acceptance of, access to and affordability of assisted reproductive technology.

The government of Ireland will, for the first time in history, allocate €1 million in 2019 to provide assisted reproductive services through the national health system, according to The Irish Times. Irish Minister for Health Simon Harris said the Department of Health’s new In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) Fund will provide Irish couples who are infertile up to €4,500 for IVF services, which cost up to €5,000 per attempt. Sadly, Ireland is less advanced when it comes to surrogacy law: the General Scheme of the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill 2017 allows only “altruistic” surrogacy, in which the surrogate is not compensated. Thanks to stiff legal restrictions on surrogacy in Ireland, most Irish intended parents continue to travel to other countries, such as Ukraine, for surrogacy.

Iran’s government also made headlines this week, with the announcement that its Ministry of Health will provide funding for infertility treatment. According to The Tehran Times, treatment of infertile couples is a national priority, in support of governmental goals for population growth.

And Singapore’s high court just ruled that a gay father, whose biologically related son was born via IVF and surrogacy in the United States in 2014, may legally adopt his son, overturning a lower court ruling nearly a year ago. The dad and his partner, both of Singapore, turned to international surrogacy because laws in the politically and socially conservative nation-state did not allow a gay man to adopt a child. Although the single-parent adoption procedure will mean only one of the dads is the legal parent, the couple hopes it will enable their son to obtain Singaporean citizenship, which had previously been denied. Prior to the ruling, the child was allowed to remain in Singapore on a dependent’s pass that had to be renewed twice a year, according to media reports.

All three of these events occurred in places where society and government institutions have traditionally been resistant to reproductive technology and non-traditional family structures. Unquestionably, assisted reproductive technology, created in response to societal need and human desire to procreate, has the capacity to transform society. Egg and sperm donation, surrogacy and IVF have expanded the concepts of parenthood and family. The availability of ART reduces the stigma of infertility and offers infertile individuals who want to parent an alternative to adoption. The use of ART by same-sex couples is steadily upending societal assumptions about who can become a parent. Those types of cultural changes happen slowly, but the steady spread of reproductive technologies to all parts of the globe is encouraging evidence of the power of science and knowledge to create change for the better.

On that promising note, from our International Fertility Law Group “family” to yours, may 2019 bring health, happiness and peace in the knowledge that—sometimes in fits and starts—humanity continues its endless quest for a better future. Happy New Year!


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.