An Israeli woman, Keren Ayash, became a mother to a baby boy two years after dying of cancer, her husband said yesterday.

"When I saw him, I thanked God for helping me to make Keren's dream come true," 42-year-old Nisim Ayash told Yedioth Ahronoth.

Keren Ayash died in November 2009 at the age of 35 as the result of a brain tumor. She and her husband had been trying to have a baby for years using fertility treatments.

When she was first diagnosed with cancer, the couple had some of their embryos frozen.

When it became clear she would die from her illness, she made her husband promise he would find a surrogate mother.

Nisim Ayash agreed but faced a number of legal hurdles, since the law only permits couples to find surrogates.

he hospital where the embryos were being kept would not release them.

Ayash turned to an organization called New Family. "He asked me to help him become a father," Irit Rosenblum, the organization's founder, said.

She approached Israel's state attorney, Moshe Lador, who eventually authorized the hospital to hand over the embryos to the father. Rosenblum argued that Ayash was making the request to use a surrogate mother not as a single man but as a member of a "former couple."

"I succeeded in convincing the state that he had the right to be a father. After all, 50 per cent of the genetic material is his," said Rosenblum.

But Ayash still had to look for a surrogate mother abroad. In the meantime, he found a new partner, already the mother of two girls, who supported him and agreed to help raise his and his late wife's child.

The boy was born last week in the United States, where Ayash attended the birth. The American surrogate was paid $100,000.

"It was painful for me that it wasn't Keren who was lying there on the bed and holding the son she had waited for so long," Ayash said. "I will tell him of his heroic mother and of the dream I fulfilled for her after she died.