When Claudia Luca first held her newborn son she burst into tears. She describes the moment as overwhelming.
Just moments beforehand she had watched her mother in the final throws of labour give birth to him, Claudia had wept as she cut the umbilical cord that linked her newborn to his grandmother, Antonietta Di Maggio.
Claudia Luca, 31, told Mamamia about the condition that led her to being unable to carry a baby and how her mother, Antonietta, stepped in to be her surrogate.
For her, a lifetime of struggles now has a happy ending.
Claudia Luca and her husband, Sonny with Luca. Image copyright Claudia Luca.
When Claudia was in year five, at school in Sydney, her parents came to her room and told her that she would never have a period or carry children.
They sat on her bed and opened a book on puberty and told her that she wasn't like the other girls.
She had been born with a rare condition, Mayer Rokitansky Kuster Hauser syndrome - meaning she had no uterus. Growing up, she said, she often found it difficult to come to terms with.
“It was very difficult for me at times knowing that I will always be different to most females in my life,” she said.
Claudia and her family. Image copyright Claudia Luca.
She spent much of her teenager years feeling isolated, alone and alienated from the other girls.
“I struggled as a teenager. One time after hearing the girls at school talk about their periods I came home angry, screamed at the family and stormed into my room,” the 31-year-old told Fairfax Media.
As the eldest of three she instinctively had that "nurturing side to her"but she always wondered if she would ever be able to realise her dreams.
“Family was always very important and so knowing that I will never be able to carry a child and also having to accept that there was a high possibility that I could not have a family one day of my own was devastating and emotionally challenging,” she said.
It wasn’t something she was prepared to give up on. After she married her partner, Sonny, they looked at their many options to have a family, from adoption to surrogacy.
Claudia says that it was overwhelming.