Surrogacy to Help Gay Men Become Parents

84% of same-sex couple households reported having children who are biologically related ( The number of gay couples forming families is on a steady rise from previous years. Assisted reproductive medicine and surrogacy, originally created to help infertile heterosexual couples, are now paving the way for same sex-couples to build families with genetic ties, too. Gay and lesbian couples around the world are finding new hope creating families using ART methods.

Christopher Farley and Victor Self met in 2003 and became the first same-sex couple to legally wed in Rye, New York, in July 2011. While they had said their “I do’s” a few times before, this was the first time they could legally pronounce their relationship. Like many dedicated gay couples, Farley and Self looked forward to raising a child of their own and set their sights on surrogacy to forge a natural family.

“I saw kids in my life, and Chris did too” ( Surrogacy is not without its challenges. In Farley and Self’s case, the first egg donor became ill, and the first surrogate failed to get pregnant. The couple persevered, and after two years, their beautiful daughter Coco finally arrived to make their family complete.

Gestational surrogacy coupled with egg donation is helping gay couples fulfill a previously impossible dream: genetically related family formation. In the past, alternatives such as adoption were the most common method of family formation for these couples. Today, with the aid of ART technology, gestational surrogacy allows gay couples to donate sperm, conceive  using an egg from an anonymous donor, and have the resulting embryo implanted into the surrogate. This way, the surrogate is not genetically linked to the child, and the intended couple can generally establish parentage through a court procedure.

The cost? The cost of having a child through egg donation and gestational surrogacy ranges roughly from $25,000 (in the case of a heterosexual couple requiring a donor only) to $140,000, depending upon the availability of insurance. Costs include payment for legal fees, the donor egg, in vitro fertilization procedure, and financial support for the surrogate (medical and living expenses during the pregnancy). A solid family planning strategy and use of legal counsel are strongly recommended for all gay couples embarking on this journey. Challenges such as  finding an egg donor and surrogate, developing a gestational surrogacy agreement, and other numerous details to be ironed out may seem overwhelming—but there is help. Firms such asInternational Fertility Law Group (IFLG) focus exclusively on assisted reproduction and family formation law. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about non-traditional family formation, visit to take advantage of our legal support and expertise.



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.