Your child’s birthday pictures, a joke, somebody’s opinion about the president or an inspirational quote are all posts we normally see on our friends’ Facebook pages.
For us, Facebook has been a tremendous tool for completely different reasons.
Women wanting to become surrogates post about their everyday life on Facebook. We are able to see pictures of their children and their environment. We see how they express themselves, what language they use and what pictures they choose to post. Sometimes their posts warn us to stay away from them as candidates. Last week a woman posted her face after a fight with her husband. This post clearly showed a strong case of domestic violence- a big NO NO in surrogacy- since it has been proven that a man who hurts his wife will increase the violence while she is pregnant.
Another candidate had many posts regarding treatments for drug addiction recovery. We were not sure if it was that she maybe worked for a clinic or that she had somebody close to her needing or going through treatment. Either way, we were warned to inquire further about this subject.
Facebook has been a positive tool for us as professionals. Through it, we learn about new treatments and new laws throughout the United States. We know that each state has unique laws regarding surrogacy and these laws change periodically. Furthermore, we are able to connect with other surrogacy professionals who might have encountered similar situations in the past. We were recently approached by a couple, in which one of the members is HIV positive. Through Facebook we found out that semen can be cleared of the disease with a simple cleaning and many agencies and clinics are accepting such intended parents.
Also, as professionals we warn each other of bad candidates. We reject 9 out of 10 surrogacy candidates. Once a candidate knows why she had been rejected, she might “change her story” and try to apply at a different agency. We also warn each other of the agencies who close under one name and reopen somewhere else under a new name. These are businesses which have worked unethically and try to continue in the market.
My favorite use of Facebook as a surrogacy professional is that of asking my peers for their opinions. Yes, we have guidelines given by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and yes, we have doctors to guide us. However, sometimes we run into grey areas and it is good to learn about other professionals’ opinions. A few months ago, we met a peer in another country and now we are working with each other. He sends me intended parents and we match them with our surrogates.
We love Facebook. We believe it is a tool that, when used properly, can be very beneficial.