Surrogacy and Social Media

You might be surprised to discover that something as simple as social media can cause a rift in surrogacy teams, particularly if the expectations and rules are not established early on. Many intended parents want to keep their journey somewhat private. They may have had a journey of infertility that makes them vulnerable and needing to keep updates on where they’re up to in growing their family to a small circle of intimate friends and family. When we share stories of infertility or grief, inevitably someone has words of advice that may be unhelpful and unwelcome. People can make rude comments and ask intrusive questions, without realising the impact or the hurt the person hearing those comments is feeling.

Surrogates on the other hand, may be excited to share the story, because surrogacy can be isolating for those who carry a baby for someone else. Sharing on social media can widen our network of support to other surrogates.

When it comes to sharing our stories and photos on social media, or in the wider media, it is important that the team has open discussions about expectations and agreements beforehand. If one party is more open to sharing the surrogacy journey than others, then compromises might be reached about what information is shared and when.

To help you determine what is right for your team, you might like to discuss the following:

  1. What information and updates are we all comfortable sharing on social media platforms?
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  2. What are our privacy settings – are out updates for close family and friends, or for everyone in the world?
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  3. Are we tagging each other or naming each other in our updates?
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  4. Are we happy for other members to share more of our story on their own social media, even if we are not sharing?
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  5. Are we sharing photos of each other and our children?
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  6. What photos and details are we sharing of the birth and about the baby, and when? If you’re not sure how you will feel about sharing details of the birth and the baby, my advice is to wait at least 24 hours after the birth before making any decisions together.
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  7. When are we announcing the pregnancy and birth?
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  8. If you are approached, or are approaching other media outlets, be careful that the entire team is happy with the angle and the form the story will take.

Headlines that read “Womb of Doom” and “I Had a Baby With My Brother” are not meant to garnish the support of readers, they are meant to shock readers into finding out more. Beware that once the article is online, it can have a life of its own and you cannot control the comments once it is shared a thousand times around the world. If the team is engaging with media outlets, make sure you agree on which photos are included and what information is shared. Understand that some people sharing and commenting will disagree with surrogacy for various reasons, and that the story itself could start conversations that do not have a positive angle.

Don’t forget to plan for the birth and if your team is happy to share your stories, you can nominate for the Podcast too.

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford. I’m a surrogacy, fertility and family lawyer. I’m also an IVF Mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for her Dads in 2018.

I advocate for positive, best practice surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

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