When Penny Hansen was warned that the risk of her aggressive breast cancer returning was too great if she became pregnant, her sister came to the rescue and offered to carry the baby.
This week, that remarkable journey concluded with a successful birth.
The saying goes that it takes a village to raise a child, but little William Davey Hansen has found a unique way of joining his new community.
For the past nine months, the newborn has lived at his cousin’s house.
When his mother, Penny Hansen, was told by doctors that the risk of her aggressive breast cancer returning was too great if she became pregnant, William’s aunty came to the rescue.
Fiona Davey, a mother of three, offered to carry her younger sister’s baby.
With Mrs Davey’s husband Adam on board, and Mrs Hansen and husband Leigh eager to fulfil their dream of becoming parents, William’s conception became the 50th surrogacy case through Melbourne IVF.
The two couples were in the delivery room at Epworth Freemasons when William arrived into the world on December 11.
Mrs Hansen was so caught up in the moment that she had to be prompted several times to announce her baby’s gender to the crowded room.
William is named after Leigh’s father and his middle name of Davey was given to honour Fiona and her family’s help in bringing him into the world.
“I wanted Penny to be the first person to hold him,” Mrs Davey said.
“It was just the most beautiful moment when she held her baby for the first time. I just felt like an aunty who had been babysitting and I was giving him back.”
Epworth obstetrician Samantha Hargreaves said that in 20 years of delivering babies, this was a birth she would always remember.
“It was an inspiring situation because it was all about love and giving,” Dr Hargreaves said.
“At this time of year, to see it in action was really special.”
After 11 days, Mrs Hansen said she and her husband were still pinching themselves that they were now parents.
“I can’t get over that I can cuddle him whenever I want,” she said.
“I wanted to carry William, but my circumstances haven’t allowed it. But to have my sister do this for me is the next best thing. He has a beautiful and expansive village of people that love him alongside Leigh and I.”