The Pitfalls of Surrogacy & Social Media
G’day, I’m Stephen Page from Page Provan Family and Fertility Lawyers, today I’m talking about the pitfalls of surrogacy and social media. I, for one, am a social media tragic. I can’t say I’m terribly good with Insta. I’ve got an Insta account, but I don’t put much on there.
I can’t say of late that I’ve particularly put much on Facebook. I’ve got a couple of Facebook accounts, but I’m not putting much up there either, and I’m certainly putting stuff on LinkedIn and a bucket load on Twitter. If you’re having to look at my Twitter handle, @stephenpagelaw, you’ll see lots and lots and lots and lots of social media about surrogacy and LGBTQI topics, et cetera.
But one of the things that I do when I put that up is I think like a lawyer when I post, and by that I mean not dressed in a suit, that stuff, but the analytics of it. If I’m putting this up, what am I doing? I’m posting or publishing information, and is this accurate? So that’s the first thing. Often, what I’m posting is what someone else has written. It’s an article written in the media, and I’m just retweeting it, for example.
But when I retweet like that, or when I’m publishing my own post, I look very carefully what’s there. Is there a claim against someone else that could be defamation? Is there something on there that could be seen to be misleading and deceptive conduct? So, just because something is going up in social media doesn’t mean that it’s a law for his own, it’s not.
You can put something up there about how your surrogacy arrangement went wrong, name the other parties, and aside from any breach of secrecy laws, because we have those concerning surrogacy in our various states, you find yourself on the wrong end of a defamation claim. How many times have I seen this happen in this space, where these nasty comments are made and they just shouldn’t be?
The simple rule is that if you are thinking of posting and you’re in the slightest bit doubtful about whether you should post, don’t. Think about it overnight. Post tomorrow, and why you would post tomorrow is the heat should have gone out of it. Don’t post when you’re angry. Post when you’re calm and on reflection. Because the last thing you want to do is be on the receiving end of a defamation claim.
There may be nothing in it. The person suing you may have no money, but you don’t know that, and I can tell you, it is truly scary when you are the respondent to a defamation claim, because I’ve acted for clients who have been, and I’ve acted for clients who have sued for defamation. So be careful about what you publish.
Be protective of other people’s privacy. They may have rights under the Privacy Act, they may have rights under State Surrogacy Acts. They may have rights under the Surrogacy Arrangement that you went into that says everything we do is confidential, we’re not going to post, and it didn’t matter what you signed up to, you then decided to post. Sadly, I have seen pile odds in social media concerning surrogacy, where there is criticism of individuals.
Completely unnecessary, completely unwarranted, and just shouldn’t happen. As I said, if you are worried about what you’re going to post, stop, reflect, get advice from someone you trust, and if in doubt, go and talk to a lawyer, that’s what we exist for. We exist to give advice. Don’t put yourself in another fight that you don’t have to.
Think protectively and stay calm. If you’re thinking about becoming a parent through surrogacy, by all means get a hold of my book, When Not If: Surrogacy for Australians. You’ll find it on my website, stephenpage.com.au and on the Page Provan website. It has bucket loads of information about surrogacy, absolutely chock full.
It talks about my professional journey through surrogacy, it also talks about my personal journey through infertility and surrogacy. But most importantly, it’s got information overload about surrogacy that will help intended parents and surrogates navigate this very, very complex journey. By all means have a look, good luck.