By Jasminee Sahoye
She grew up in a predominantly French and Roman Catholic neighbourhood in Montreal and during her early years, Dr. Marjorie Dixon said she never felt she belonged there but tried to overcome that feeling.
Now, a wife, mother and medical doctor who is a fertility specialist, she is making news around the world by helping a couple overcome their biggest challenge of conceiving a child, using a special method.
In what is being described as a milestone achievement in assisted-reproduction, Natasha Rajani, 34, is the first woman in the world to give birth after undergoing an experimental fertility treatment known as Augment that recharges poor quality eggs using young, energy-producing cells taken from a woman’s own ovaries. She had tried without success for years using IVF treatments.
With Dixon’s expertise and her clinic, First Steps Fertility on Yonge Street in Toronto, which Dixon co-founded, Rajani and husband Omar were encouraged to try a new method in IVF. And it worked. Their son Zian, known as the miracle baby, was born April 13 and is reported to be normal and healthy.
Born to Jamaican parents in Montreal, Dixon in an online video said she grew up in “a French part of town and everyone else was Roman Catholic and had different customs and ate very different foods than I was accustomed to so I never felt like I belonged.”
She speaks of being eight years old and she along with non-Catholic kids were sent to the school’s basement to learn courtesies. “I grew up living with that feeling for most of my youth.”
She was the French translator for her parents after learning and soon became assimilated into Quebecois culture.
She received her medical degree at McGill University School of Medicine and then moved to Toronto for residency training where she says she felt she “belonged.”
“Once I had my own children and family because they looked like me, they behaved like me, that was probably the awe and amazement of having progeny that finally made me feel like I belong,” said Dixon.
She also specializes in difficult reproductive endocrine cases including polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), reproductive aging, hypothalamic problems, thyroid disease and endometriosis as well as general gynecology and surgeries. She has been actively involved in IVF since 2002 and her practice is oriented toward patients who are struggling with infertility as well as patients seeking options for family planning (same sex couples, single patients).
She was appointed to the province’s expert panel on infertility and adoption which has just submitted its report entitled Raising Expectations. The goal of the panel was to advise the Ontario government how to improve access to fertility treatments and monitoring, as well as how to improve Ontario’s adoption system.