Alison Gioia’s Story


Alison is the IAS Outreach Coordinator

My husband and I always knew that we wanted children, but we spent the first three years of our marriage enjoying time together as a couple. We were in our twenties and did not feel a rush to have children right away.

In 2010 we decided that we were ready to start trying for a baby. I still remember the day I stopped taking my birth control pills. It was right before our trip to Europe. I naively thought about how wonderful it would be if we could come home from Europe with the best souvenir ever—being pregnant!

Over a year later, we were still trying. I couldn’t believe that this was happening to us. Every time my period came, I felt like such a huge failure. In 2012, a Reproductive Endocrinologist diagnosed my husband with male-factor infertility (low morphology) and diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

Over the next ten months, we did an IUI and two fresh IVF cycles. None were successful. Our final cycle was a frozen embryo transfer. To our surprise, it worked! We were actually pregnant! We were so happy and dared to think about what our life could be like with a baby. When that pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage, we were devastated. After that, we took some time to think about our next steps. We had always known that we would seriously consider adoption if IVF failed us. While they are great choices for some, my husband and I didn’t feel that donor sperm, donor egg, or donor embryo were the right options for us. So, we had two options for moving forward: do another cycle, or start the adoption process.

We talked at length about our options, and we even sought the help of a counselor who specialized in infertility and adoption issues. She helped us talk through our options and seeing her was immensely helpful. After many difficult conversations, we finally realized that we just wanted to be parents—we didn’t necessarily need a genetic connection to our child. We desperately wanted to be parents, though. That’s when all the pieces fell into place and we knew adoption was our next step.

We decided to look into domestic newborn adoption. I felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders when we decided to stop infertility treatments. I know plenty of others endure far more than my husband and I—we just couldn’t take it anymore and it felt good to admit that. Taking steps to move forward with adoption was empowering. I felt hopeful, and it had been a long time since I had felt that way about having children.

I was extremely excited to move forward with our adoption plans, but also a little nervous. One of the things that scared me about the adoption process was a long wait. We had heard of people adopting quickly, but just couldn’t believe that it would happen to us since nothing had gone right since we began trying to conceive. We began working with an adoption consultant in April 2013, completed our home study that summer, signed up with our attorney in August, and matched later that month! We brought home our beautiful daughter in February 2014–less than a year after beginning the adoption process.

Adoption is such a beautiful way to create a family. The entire process can be scary and overwhelming at times, but it is so worth it! We are lucky enough to have a fairly open relationship with our child’s birthparents, so we were able to be at the hospital for her birth. I was in the delivery room when she was born, and my husband and I were the first people to hold her after she was born. We are happier than we have ever been, and our little family feels complete now. I could not be more in love with my daughter if I had given birth to her myself. We have gained more than a daughter through adoption—her birth family is part of our family now and we are so happy that she has so many people in her life who love her. We will always be grateful to her birth parents who did something neither we nor our RE could do—they made us parents!

I read somewhere that adoption is the “biggest leap of faith and the biggest leap of love that you will ever take.” I whole-heartedly agree with that sentiment. Although the process can be scary at times, adoption is totally worth the leap!