On the Lived Theology Reading List: My Body, Their Baby: A Progressive Christian Vision for Surrogacy

Celebrating Surrogacy Through a Feminist Christian Lens

As both an accomplished ethicist and surrogate mother herself, Grace Kao offers a perspective on modern surrogacy that draws on both the philosophical and the emotional in My Body, Their Baby: A Progressive Christian Vision for Surrogacy. Kao weaves her unique experience into her conversation of the complexities and nuance of surrogacy, where she also invites and elaborates on vital queer, feminist, and non-White perspectives. All the while, Kao centers her argument around a Christian framework that not only permits, but honors the generosity of, a person becoming pregnant for someone else. Emphasizing the shared importance of experience to both feminist and Christian understandings, she breaks down prevailing objections to surrogacy with the cogency and conciseness of a practiced theologian while at the same time sharing deeply emotional stories of joy surrounding her own surrogacy journey. In My Body, Their Baby, Kao offers an essential resource for progressive reproductive ethics that speaks directly- and accessibly- to the Biblically engaged.

Grace Y. Kao is a professor of ethics at Claremont School of Theology and is also a founding co-director of Claremont’s Center for Sexuality, Gender, and Religion. In addition, Kao has taught at Claremont Graduate University and at Virginia Tech. She is the co-editor of Encountering the Sacred: Feminist Reflections on Women’s Lives (2018) and Asian American Christian Ethics (2015). She currently serves as the Bishop Roy I. Sano and Kathleen A. Thomas-Sano Chair in Pacific and Asian American Theology and is the first Asian American woman to receive tenure at Claremont School of Theology.

Grace Y. Kat was a participant in the SILT 16/17: Can I Get a Witness? The SILT celebrates scholars, activists, laypeople, and religious leaders whose lived theologies produced and inspired social justice in the United States, and produced a volume entitled Can I Get a Witness? Thirteen Peacemakers, Community Builders, and Agitators for Faith and Justice. Grace contributed a chapter on Yuri Kochiyama, a life-long activist at the forefront of issues in the black, Latino, Native American and Asian American communities.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“The world needs more scholars like Grace Kao. With thoughtful rigor and deeply human tenderness, she provides a faithful framework for understanding surrogacy. Her cogent, compassionate arguments illuminate a practice that is often consigned to the shadows, and her work shines with creativity, empathy, and care.”

-Jeff Chu, author of Does Jesus Really Love Me?

“This book provides an expansive Christian vision for surrogacy that bravely probes complex social ethics questions surrounding it. Kao’s accessibly articulated and social justice–oriented guidelines offer a roadmap for decision-making that contributes fresh, thought-provoking analysis to feminist reproductive ethics”

-Traci C. West, Drew University Theological School, author of Solidarity and Defiant Spirituality

“Drawing on her own experience both as a surrogate and a Christian theologian, Kao makes a powerful and rigorously argued Christian ethical case for surrogacy. An invaluable resource for parents, pastors, and all concerned with reproduction and its ethical implications.”

-Susan A. Ross, Loyola University Chicago, author of Anthropology: Seeking Light and Beauty

For more information on the publication, click here.

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