Maria Menounos welcomes first baby via surrogate after pancreatic cancer diagnosis

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Maria Menounos and husband Keven Undergaro have welcomed their first baby via surrogate after a decade of fertility issues and Menounos’ battle with pancreatic cancer.

On Wednesday (19 July), the 45-year-old journalist revealed to Us Weekly the name of their baby girl: Athena Alexandra. Their bundle of joy was born on 23 June in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, via surrogate.

“It was the most special moment of my life,” Menounos recalled to the outlet. “The doctor literally grabbed her and hiked her onto me. I sat with her on my chest, and Keven and I kept looking at each other like, ‘Oh, my God.’ It was just pure joy.”

“It was like Christmas morning times a million,” she said.

Menounos announced she and her husband Undergaro, 55, were expecting their first child together in February. But just one month prior, she learned she had a 3.9cm mass on her pancreas, later confirmed to be a stage 2 neuroendocrine tumour.

“Athena is our miracle baby,” Menounos said. “I’m so grateful for her.”

Speaking to Us Weekly, the former E! News correspondent opened up about her 10-year-long fertility journey, and revealed the surprising celebrity who helped her find a surrogate.

Menounos previously did three rounds of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments before she opted to have a baby via surrogate. It wasn’t until her first surrogate fell through that her lawyer, Andrew Vorzimer – who Kim Kardashian had connected her to – put her in touch with a surrogate search service.

“I give her so much credit,” Menounos said about Kim Kardashian. “She helped us get started and guided me through the fears and the process. She was the first to know we were pregnant! We were at a gala, and I couldn’t resist telling her. She’s such a chill, calm person. Anytime I had questions or needed advice, her responses were instant. I had really leaned on her a lot.”

After her pancreatic cancer diagnosis, the TV presenter underwent surgery to remove the tumour on her pancreas, along with parts of her spleen, a fibroid, and 17 lymph nodes. Now, Menounos revealed that she feels “amazing” after surgery, which left her with a C-section scar, despite not delivering a baby on her own.

“I’ve had a lot of low moments, so I’ve had a lot of practice in overcoming them,” she said, when asked how she managed to stay positive battling cancer while preparing for her baby girl. “You have to come out of the victim mentality.”

“Everyone asks, ‘Why me?’ And my thing is, ‘Why not me?’ That helps me get out of things faster,” she continued. “I just beat this tumour because I found it early, and other people don’t, so I’m lucky. I try to focus on how I want to feel rather than the other stuff. It takes a minute; it’s not easy.”

Not only has Maria Menounos battled – and survived – pancreatic cancer, but she previously underwent surgery to remove a brain tumour in 2017. That same year, she and her husband tied the knot after nearly 20 years of dating.