In ‘My Body, Their Baby,’ a scholar explores the theology of surrogacy

by | Oct 6, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — Theology professor Grace Kao’s new book was inspired in part by a plotline from the sitcom “Friends.” Kao was watching an episode where Phoebe, one of the show’s main characters, agrees to be a surrogate mother for her brother and his wife.  I could do that, she thought at the time.
She was right. Kao would eventually become a surrogate for friends from a small group at her church, an experience she recounts in “My Body, Their Baby,” which was published recently by Stanford University Press. The book is both personal and philosophical — giving a firsthand account of surrogacy as well as detailing the legal, ethical and spiritual issues involved.
“I didn’t have my friend’s baby thinking I was going to get a book deal,” she said. “It was just a matter of people asking me questions and responding to them — and then friends saying, Grace, have you thought about writing about this?”

Kao, an ethicist and professor of Pacific and Asian American Theologies at Claremont School of Theology, said her decision to become a surrogate was pretty straightforward. Friends who had struggled with infertility needed help. While she didn’t love being pregnant — Kao and her husband had two children of their own before she became a surrogate — she didn’t mind it.
She volunteered to help.
Her offer to be a surrogate came up in 2 …

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