Spain couple gets gift of life from WEAU staff member

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Javier Huergo and Pilar Azcarraga have been together for five years and as the relationship progressed, questions were asked.

"If we get to be together, we would like to have a family, we'd like to get married. I was like 'Javier, you know that I can not have babies,'" Azcarraga said to WEAU 13 News on Tuesday.

A bout with cancer took away the ability for Pilar to have one of her own, leaving the couple from Spain exploring all options – finally settling on finding a gestational surrogate to carry their baby.

Combining the donation of an anonymous egg with Javier's sperm, the task of bringing the new life into the world for the couple fell to Melissa Hogstad – a member of the WEAU sales staff.

"I started thinking about it. It was in the back of my mind that it would be really cool to do for somebody," she said.

Already a mother of two boys, this pregnancy for Melissa was different.

"Our excitement was about getting them to see him for the first time. It wasn't about us getting to see him or anything like that," Hogstad said. "When we saw him, our excitement was more for them.

“We were explaining it to people – because they are asking now – 'How do you feel? Are you feeling post-partum depression? What are your emotions?' All these things. We're just so excited for them and, I mean, they've become family to us."

Unlike a normal birth, or even an adoption, there were several legal and logistical hurdles involved – as well as unique emotions.

"There's ups and downs in the process," Huergo said. "It's a question of confidence and it's a question of accepting that this is the way – if you want to play this game, this is the way you have to play.”

While Melissa carried the baby in Eau Claire, Pilar and Javier kept in regular contact with her and Hogstad’s husband, Jesse, from back in Madrid.

Finally, on Feb. 1st, everyone involved arrived at Mayo Clinic Health System's Luther Campus in Eau Claire ready to welcome Ignatio into the world.

"He's doing perfect,” Huergo boasted about his new son. “I mean, what can I say? He's the most handsome one and the nicest."

Javier and Pilar will soon head back to Spain with their new son, but also with more questions.

"How are we going to explain this to him when he gets older? Of course, this is going to take time," Azcarraga said.

Even so, they are happy Melissa was the answer to their biggest question of all.

Photo Credit: [m] brooks photography

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