IFLG-Trends-Gaining-Popularity-in-Reproductive-Health-Rich-Vaughn

Trends Gaining Popularity in Reproductive Health

Societal progressions and advances in modern technology have created new trends in the fertility world that continue to gain in popularity as the traditional landscapes of family units and the pathways to parenthood evolve.

More Single Women Choosing Fertility Treatments

More single women are choosing fertility treatments to fulfill their dreams of motherhood. Although part of this increase can be attributed to women choosing their careers first and motherhood later, studies show the majority of single women choosing ART are simply tired of waiting for the right partner to come along.

“Research suggests it is the lack of a male partner prepared to commit to parenthood that is the key driver for women choosing to become single mothers,” Sarah Norcross, director of fertility campaign group PET, tells the Huffington Post. “They are not necessarily women who have failed to find the man they want to have children with – it is the absence of a man ready to become a dad that has led to this reproductive choice.”

Lauren O’Neill, a 37-year-old single mom, who turned to private sperm donation to become pregnant, tells ABC News, “I just found myself pretty much on a mission to find someone who I could have children with, and the pressure of that was so much that I just wasn’t even enjoying going out on dates anymore.” O’Neill gave birth to her daughter Daisy last summer and goes on to say that “realizing that there was another path, just the relief that brought was amazing.”

Egg Freezing Also Gaining Popularity Among Women

Another trend gaining popularity in reproductive health is that more women are freezing their eggs for future use. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), egg freezing cycles jumped 31 percent in 2021, and in the last six years, the total number of cycles has increased by 44 percent.

Women are typically born with around a million eggs, and this number continually decreases with age. In the past, this forced adherence to a woman’s biological clock often sacrificed education and career. But as egg freezing has become more mainstream and doctors have determined that frozen and then thawed eggs have success rates similar in IVF to those freshly harvested, egg freezing is at the forefront of reproductive health. The ASRM has concluded that egg freezing is an “ethically permissible medical treatment that may enhance women's reproductive autonomy and promote social equality.”

Dr. Nicole Noyes, a reproductive endocrinologist and former New York University professor who presented evidence on the effectiveness of egg freezing told The New York Times, “When I was first doing it, the mean age of women who came in was 38. Today, most of the consults I’m doing are with women in their 20s.” She goes on to say that the once “very shame-based” conversations regarding egg freezing are now routine. Women are preserving their chance of motherhood in the future.

Women Donating Eggs in Exchange for Cheaper IVF Costs

“Freeze and share,” another trend affecting the fertility sector, offers women fertility treatments at a cheaper cost if they are willing to share their eggs. These programs offer incentives such as free egg extraction and freezing or a free IVF cycle and have gained in popularity as the cost of fertility treatments has risen. The financial costs for freezing eggs alone can be well over $10,000, and that does not account for yearly storage fees, or any cost accrued when a woman is ready to use her eggs to become pregnant.

Dr. Shailaja Nair, clinical lead at the London Egg Bank tells The Spectator, “Some of our donors just want to help. Those using ‘freeze and share’ may want to have a child in the future. . . they’re doing something to help, but they’re also getting help. Egg freezing is expensive – younger women are coming forward.” Sarah, a single woman in her 30s, decided to donate her eggs in return for a free round of IVF after two failed attempts of intrauterine insemination. During her egg extraction, she produced 15 eggs and was able to donate seven of them, she tells the Mirror. She received her free round of IVF while only having to pay for extras such as donor sperm and saved over $7000. Her free IVF cycle was a success, and Sarah welcomed a healthy baby into the world.

While Sarah had a positive story and says that “being a donor made me feel amazing,” there are concerns regarding these programs, with some likening them to preying on those without the financial means to pay for their own fertility treatments. As we reported in 2020 and as a caution, any woman considering donating her eggs should be informed about all medical procedures, medications used including self-injected hormones used to stimulate egg production, and potential uses of donated eggs – whether they might be used for research or reproduction. It is also important to note that a growing number of jurisdictions in the U.S. and internationally require that donors remain identifiable in the event offspring seek contact or health information in the future.

Growing Demand for Single Embryo Transfer

The historic practice of transferring multiple embryos into the womb during IVF is declining, as a growing number of intended parents transfer only one embryo into the womb at a time. The ASRM recommends only implanting one embryo per IVF cycle, not only for the health of the intended parent or surrogate, but to also create a higher chance of a live birth and healthy baby, stating that “even twin gestations have significant additional morbidity compared with that of singletons.” The CDC also agrees that an elective single-embryo transfer (eSET) helps women avoid several risks to their own health, including c-sections, but also helps avoid risks such as preterm labor and premature babies, which may lead to developmental delays associated with carrying multiples.

This, however, is not the only reason for the rise of eSET. As inflation rises, the financial cost of raising multiple children, including the day-to-day costs as well as future costs such as a college education, have intended parents deciding against taking the chance of having multiples. There is also a growing number of intended parents who only want one child.

Adding to this uptick are states that are now mandating reproductive health coverage and employers offering fertility benefits as incentives in the competitive workforce, giving intended parents the much-needed financial break from the costs associated with assisted reproduction technology. Intended parents with reproductive health coverage are no longer feeling the pressure to transfer multiple embryos into the womb for fear of not being able to afford another round of IVF. The “throwing all of your eggs in one basket” scenario is slowly diminishing, as is the financial pressure to do so.

Modern technology continually brings new trends to the forefront. With greater transparency and acceptance in a field that was once veiled in secrecy, intended parents are now proactively choosing their own unique paths for parenthood. At IFLG, we always stay current with the latest trends and technological advances in ART and how to best navigate those changes state by state. Please feel free to reach out to our expert team of fertility law professionals with any questions and for guidance on your journey. We are here to help.

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 moved to the United States in 2012 to attend Northeastern 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, received her paralegal certification from UCLA Extension, and obtained her second Master of Science degree in Legal Studies from Loyola Law School. Peiya relocated back to her hometown, Beijing, China in 2019 and works from IFLG’s Beijing office. 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 which he received in 2013, 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. Luis has worked for IFLG in both Los Angeles as well as San Francisco, and is currently based in Dallas, Texas. In addition to spending time with husband Randy and dog Marty, Luis enjoys being outdoors and appreciating the arts.

Toni Hughes
TONI BOONE
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.”

KIM DEVEREAUX
Paralegal

Kim has over 30 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 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.

Phoebe Sadler
PHOEBE S. SADLER
Associate

Fertility law attorney Phoebe Sadler has a background in family law and has been practicing exclusively in the area of assisted reproduction technology (ART) law since 2018.

Rubina Aslanyan
RUBINA ASLANYAN
Paralegal

Rubina has an extensive background in the legal field as a paralegal in Family Law and has worked in surrogacy and assisted reproduction law since 2012. Her area of focus is in managing and assisting clients with surrogacy, egg donation, and parental establishment cases for many of IFLG’s domestic and international clients. During her spare time, Rubina enjoys spending time with her family and dog Bella, traveling and cooking.

Alexander Espinoza
ALEXANDER ESPINOZA
Legal Assistant

Alexander joined IFLG as a legal assistant in 2019, where he manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases. Alex is bilingual in English and Spanish and has been in the legal field for 23 years. Alex is excited to join the IFLG team and pursuing his will to help others in the reproductive law process. In his spare time he loves spending time with his family and friends, being outdoors, road trips, loves music and dancing.

Cara Stecker
CARA STECKER
Senior Paralegal

After receiving her paralegal certificate in 2005, Cara began working in assisted reproductive law. During the fifteen years Cara has worked in this field, she has gained a wide range of experience and knowledge that she uses to help better assist clients and those involved in the assisted reproductive journey. Cara’s primary roles involve managing parental establishment matters and coordination with IFLG’s Of Counsel attorney network, drafting contracts and parental establishment court documents and providing support to other team members. Cara finds great joy in being a small part of a team of caring people who help others achieve their dream of having a family. In her spare time, Cara enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, watching her children play the sports they love, and she enjoys, running, cycling and exploring the outdoors in the sun.

Stephanie Kimble
STEPHANIE KIMBLE
Paralegal

Stephanie received her BS in History and Political Thought from Concordia University Irvine in 2015 and her Paralegal Certificate from University of San Diego later that same year. She has been working as a Paralegal since 2016 in Family and Reproductive Law. She is excited to be part of International Fertility Law Group working on managing Surrogacy, Egg donation and Parental Establishment Cases.

Trish Pittman
TRISH PITTMAN
Assistant Financial Coordinator

With more than 20 years of experience in the field of accounting, Trish joined the IFLG team in 2019 as Assistant Financial Coordinator. Her client-facing focus at IFLG is to assist with all client trust accounting. Trish is the mother of two daughters and enjoys spending time teaching and learning new things from them. In her free time, she loves long walks in the park and reading suspense and mystery novels.

Katie Deaquino
KATIE DEAQUINO
Senior Paralegal

Katie is a Senior Paralegal with IFLG and has dedicated over sixteen years to the areas of surrogacy and reproductive law. She received her Paralegal Certificate from Coastline Community College and has worked with some of the top law firms in the assisted reproduction community. Katie is also a commissioned Notary Public. With IFLG, Katie manages Surrogacy, Egg Donation, and Parental Establishment cases and provides support to other IFLG team members. Katie truly enjoys helping others build their families through assisted reproduction and is thankful she has had the rewarding experience of assisting IFLG clients. Katie often spends her free time with her Husband, four young children and her bulldog “Bella”.

Elsa Jimenez
ELSA JIMENEZ
Legal Assistant

Elsa joined IFLG as a Legal Assistant in 2019, bringing more than 35 years of experience working in the legal profession (concentrating in tort and litigation matters). At IFLG she assists surrogates with their surrogacy and parental matters. The oldest of five siblings, born and raised in East Los Angeles to Mexican immigrant parents, Elsa loves “seeing the beauty of families forming” through assisted reproductive technology. She and her husband Carlos have four children and one grandson. Elsa enjoys jazz and ’80s music, being outdoors in nature, collecting teacups and tea pots, and spending time with her close-knit family.