His grandparents marvelled at his tiny features: The baby had his late mother's eyes, but overall, he resembled his father, they said.
Once this challenge was met, the families had to set about finding a surrogate and, with this service illegal in China, they had to set their sights overseas.
A baby of a Chinese couple who died more than four years ago has been born to a surrogate mother.
The landmark ruling that allows parents to inherit frozen embryos created by their children has triggered a wide-ranging debate on Chinese social media.
"First we thought of using air freight, but none of the airlines were willing to take the thermos-sized bottle of liquid nitrogen where the four embryos were stored", Liu Baojun, a surrogacy expert who assisted the families, told The Beijing News.
The news outlet explained how the lack of precedent for a case of this kind had compelled the deceased couple's parents through a "legal minefield" before the surrogacy could proceed. The report says this is an unprecedented affair for this, and the couple's parents had to put up a tough court fight to secure the right to resort to a surrogate mother.
The embryos also had to be transported by vehicle as no airline was willing to take responsibility for a thermos-sized bottle of liquid nitrogen.
After the birth late previous year, all four grandparents took DNA blood tests to confirm they were related to the boy.
'Other babies have their fathers and mothers, but he doesn't.
"For sure we will tell him what happened - what choice do we have?"