How Social Media Supports LGBT Prospective Parents’ Choices
The odds are, if you’re reading this, you use social media. Maybe you follow RMA Long Island IVF or The LGBT Network – – or both – – on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Increasingly, people are using social media for more than just entertainment and keeping in touch with friends and family – – they also use it when researching medical topics, or searching for healthcare providers. And may weigh the results they find as heavily as recommendations from trusted friends and family.
In a recent report by the Health Research Institute at PricewaterhouseCoopers US, “one-third of consumers use sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and online forums to find health-related information, track symptoms and broadcast their thoughts about doctors, drugs, treatments, medical devices and health plans”. In addition, 41 percent of the 1,000 consumers within the survey indicated that social media tools impact their healthcare decisions and “influence their choice of a specific hospital, medical facility or doctor”. *
But if you start to Google phrases like “LGBT + surrogacy” or “LGBT + egg donor” or “LGBT parenting options” or any other number of combinations of relevant terms, not only will your head spin from the sheer volume of search results, but you may stumble upon inaccurate information that could cost you valuable time and money if you rely on it. So, be very careful and verify the accuracy.
Many LGBT individuals or couples who want to be biological parents need to start at the same place– –finding an infertility specialist– – also known as a reproductive endocrinologist. Find one where the practice’s reputation is as good as the “chemistry” feels at your first visit.
Virtually all LGBT couples and singles know from the start that they will need medical assistance in order to have a biological baby-- because they are missing the critical biological contribution (eggs or sperm) from a member of the opposite sex. Gay men will need donated eggs from one woman (the egg donor) and a uterus from another woman who will carry the baby for them (the gestational carrier).
- Research LGBT-Friendly Infertility Practices
Social media, family or doctor recommendations or internet research may lead prospective parents to consider RMA Long Island IVF’s decades of LGBT family-building experience when deciding who to trust with their care. That history, plus efforts to reach out, educate, and support the Long Island LGBT community with seminars year-round may make us a good fit for their particular needs.
A trusted LGBT-friendly infertility practice should provide its patients with all of the additional resources they need to navigate their personal family-building journeys so they have the best, most accurate, and up-to-date information. Patients can expect to learn about financing, testing, screening, and more. They will be examined and given options regarding trusted, reputable resources so they can be matched with pre-screened sperm donors, egg donors, gestational carriers, or surrogates, if needed. (Currently, gestational surrogacy is not legal in NYS, but read on for exciting information about how that law may be changing soon). They will also be given referrals to trusted legal counsel who specialize in protecting LGBT parents and intended parents before, during, and after their family-building process.
- LGBT Fertility-Related Legislation & Advocacy
Another important way social media supports the LGBT journey to parenthood is by keeping the community aware of any proposed legislation that impacts its reproductive rights. This includes legislation that threatens rights that already exist as well as new laws that could expand or grant additional rights for LGBT prospective parents.
In New York, the Child-Parent Security Act is groundbreaking proposed legislation that will be a game-changer for the LGBT community-- and it’s the hottest issue in reproductive rights law in New York right now. Recently, New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, held a press conference indicating support for surrogacy reform.
In a nutshell, the law will legalize gestational surrogacy in New York State and provide comprehensive protections for all involved—the surrogate, the intended parents, and the child. Under the current long-standing ban, gay couples, single people, and others who need a gestational surrogate must look to neighboring states like New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and beyond to find one--which adds inconvenience as well as cost to the process. Otherwise, they’d be forced to live in fear of legal challenges to their parental rights.
Through social media, community members and their networks of friends can advocate on behalf of this important legislation. We urge everyone who supports removing obstacles to LGBT family-building (as well as heterosexual family-building) through gestational surrogacy to keep informed through social media, spread the word through social media, and reach out to your representatives through social media and otherwise to voice your support.
The easiest way to use social media to become an advocate of the Child-Parent Security Act is to follow the Facebook page or visit the website of Resolve, The National Infertility Association. Resolve has up-to-the-moment updates on crucial pending infertility-related legislation in every state and easy links to pre-written letters to your specific representatives that can be auto-sent on your behalf with one simple click in literally one minute or less right here. You can learn more and accomplish the same reach-out to your representatives through the Protecting Modern Families Coalition site right here.
- LGBT Family-Building Support Groups
Finally, social media is a double-edged sword when trying to become parents. Seeing the pregnancy and baby pictures of friends and family can add to the stress and frustration of the family-building process. But there is also a lot of support out there on various social media platforms-- as well as blogs and websites-- that is specifically tailored to LGBT community members who are considering or are actively trying to conceive.
If you are interested in social media support and information on becoming parents or parenting from other community members, you might want to check out some of these popular links:
Also search “LGBT Parents” “Lesbian TTC” Gay parenting” for private groups to join.
For LGBT (Adoption) Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LifeLongAdoptionsInc/
LGBT Parenting Blogs: https://blog.feedspot.com/lgbt_parenting_blogs/
We’d love the opportunity to meet you and answer all of your questions at the “Building Families in the LGBT Community” seminar on June 13th. Register now to save your spot.
In addition to researching infertility practices, staying involved in or advocating for LGBT family-building legislative measures, and accessing supportive LGBT platforms and blogs, what other ways are you using social media in your journey to LGBT parenthood? Are there other relevant social media platforms you recommend or follow?