Doctor Marjorie Dixon is the CEO and Medical Director of Anova Fertility & Reproductive Health.We caught up with her to talk about her work.
On a personal level, what attracted you to work in the field of Fertility & Reproductive health, and what is your background and experience in this area?
My first recollection of wanting to be a reproductive specialist was around the 10th anniversary of Louise Brown’s (the world’s first IVF baby) birth in 1988. It was during a library period in high school and a Time article caught my eye about the future of medicine being in the field of “Reproductive Biology”. It piqued my curiosity and seemed almost perfectly suited for me, as I had both a love of biology and planned a future in the field of medicine!
My father was also a high school biology teacher and used to bring me to his lab as a child; he never worried that I would be overwhelmed by any of his dissection specimens. Rather, he was very matter-of-fact about things: patiently explaining the reproductive habits of mice and rats. I can remember being intrigued to see where their litters grew (in bicornuate uteruses)! It must have been very formative, in retrospect…
Why did you found Anova Fertility & Reproductive Health?
I founded Anova Fertility & Reproductive Health with the goal to advocate and provide a centre that is patient-oriented, and innovative while offering individualised, compassionate and evidence-based medical care for all patients. This is critical regardless of a patient’s marital status, sexual orientation, or ethnic/ religious background.
You have gone through fertility treatments yourself. What sort of unique perspective does this give you?
I have gone through fertility treatment myself, IVF to be specific. This has given me the unique perspective as a fertility care provider. I have a full understanding of what my patients are experiencing and manage each case with empathy and with an individualised approach.
What services does Anova offer which are of particular relevance to gay couples, either male or female, wanting to start a family?
Anova Fertility believes in educating our patients about their fertility options. That said, there are many third-party reproduction options available to the LGBTQ community. Third-party reproduction (we refer to it as “collaborative family planning”) refers to the use of donor eggs (oocytes), donor sperm and/ or gestational carrier services. These options make pregnancy possible for individuals and couples who might otherwise not have options for having a child by traditional means.
What makes you different from other agencies offering similar services?
Anova Fertility & Reproductive Health consists of highly trained, reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialists and support staff. Our objective is to provide comfort and support to our patients, whose goal it is to grow their family. This is done while combining the most up-to-date, innovative technology in order to achieve the best results possible. In addition, we maintain a welcoming and comfortable environment for people of all backgrounds.
What makes us different is the fact that we work closely with the LGBTQ community right here in Toronto. I participate in educational sessions about family-building options for the “Pappas and Daddies to be” and “Dykes Planning Tykes” parenting classes right here in Toronto. We see first-hand the struggles and obstacles that same-sex couples face when trying to build their families.
We note that the desire to have a child is natural for many adults, regardless of their orientation. Our team of doctors, nurses and lab technicians take PRIDE in helping lesbian, gay and transgendered couples become parents. To have these relationships within the community and insights have helped us to provide a specialised program for those needing third-party (eggs, sperm or a uterus from a person other than the intended parents) assisted reproduction.
Why not adoption?
Adoption vs fertility treatment is a common and a great question. This is also a question that I cannot answer for you, as everyone’s fertility needs and resources are different. I would recommend however, that you do your research, visit a fertility specialist, consult an experienced fertility counsellor, review your finances and have a discussion with your partner if you have one. This is a very personal decision and it is imperative that you make the right decision for YOU.
Again on a personal level, what has given you your greatest pleasure in your line of work?
Being able to provide the world with class quality medical care that helps others grow their families, particularly all groups that are often not heard or forgotten. We at Anova Fertility & Reproductive Health pride ourselves on a tailored approach to fertility care/ family-building and nothing beats holding the babies in my arms and whispering into their ears, “Do you know how much you were loved even before you came to be? Or do you know how special you are to all of us?” We have Anova Fertility’s babies all around the world: from Japan, to Qatar, the UK, Canada and the USA!
What plans for the future do you have for Anova Fertility & Reproductive Health?
At Anova Fertility & Reproductive Health, we understand that the journey to grow your family can be daunting in all aspects: emotionally, financially and legally. This is why Anova Fertility’s objective is to assist and guide you through your fertility journey, showing you that it is also an exciting and beautiful time in your life. Our goal is to ensure that your experience and health care is the best possible. Our team of highly qualified Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Specialist, lawyers, counsellors and staff, along with our innovative facility will ensure you receive the world-class service you deserve.