Only a little over a week later (on May 18th) Dr. Dixon will be presented with the YWCA Toronto 2017 Women of Distinction Award,
which honours “women across industries and sectors who have demonstrated an iron-clad commitment to improving the lives of girls, women and marginalized groups - and have delivered remarkable results.”
In the process of planning for that event she met up with “fellow” Old Girl Lisa Hoffman (’04) who is working for the Y in the area of advocacy and marketing. Lisa took this opportunity to conduct a short interview with Marjorie, which follow below:
Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MORE COMMON THINGS YOU HEAR FROM WOMEN WHO ARE TRYING TO CONCEIVE?
A: “I wish someone had told me this sooner.” Too often, women lack proper information about their own reproductive health and fertility. We have done a good job educating young people about contraception and safe sex but conception planning is something we should be talking about as well. I strongly believe it is our individual responsibility to understand our body. As women, understanding how fertility and our reproductive system work is imperative.
Q: WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WANT MORE YOUNG WOMEN TO KNOW ABOUT THEIR REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH?
A: It may be no surprise to hear that a woman’s fertility decreases as she ages. What may be a shock is the dramatic drop in the ability of otherwise healthy women to conceive as we get older. At the age of 20-24 years of age, the likelihood of natural conception within a year is 86%, yet many women don’t start a family when they are most fertile. By the time a woman has reached her late 30s, the probability of natural conception after a year is less than 52%. This is often a huge shock for women to learn.
Q: HOW CAN WOMEN TAKE BETTER CONTROL OF THEIR FERTILITY AND CHOICES?
A: First, become curious: self-education is an important step toward becoming a self-advocate for your health. I can’t emphasize education enough. Begin having conversations with your doctor, or explore the experiences of family and friends. It is vital that we share our wisdom so we ensure the choice to start a family remains our decision. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be limited because we don’t know our options. Should you be curious about your fertility, consider requesting an FSH test (on day 3 of your cycle) and an AMH test from your doctor at your next regular pap test. These simple blood tests allow your doctor to track your ovarian (egg) reserve and your conception hormone levels – a first step in understanding your body and exploring your options. And take the time to research and understand how simple lifestyle choices can impact your fertility. Depending on your situation, you may want to start your family or explore an option such as egg freezing. Egg freezing, also known as egg preservation (or cryopreservation) allows for women to preserve their healthy eggs for future use.
Q: YOU'VE DONE A LOT OF WORK WITH ECS STUDENTS THROUGH CAREER DAP AND OTHER MENTORSHIP INITIATIVES. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH THE GIRLS?
A: What I enjoy most is seeing the amazing potential waiting to be tapped into in these young women. ECS students are an eager, zealous group and are taught to see themselves with limitless possibilities. In high school particularly, these young ladies are in a place where they still feel that they can live their ideal and do good for the world- "Non nobis sed urbi et orbi". They have passion for their future and it is palpable. I hope that I can help to ignite the spark if a few, young female minds for the sciences and entrepreneurship.
Q: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN INTERESTED IN PURSING A CAREER IN MEDICINE?
A: A career in medicine is both incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. You must find your passion and follow it unwaveringly: there are many sub-specialties, so finding the right fit is key. And embrace your science courses as these are really the foundation for your University course load. The basics can seem like they aren't relevant to your future, but they are the solid foundation on which the rest of your science education is built. After all, the scientific process can be applied daily to critical thinking skills: life is all about developing hypotheses, then proving or disproving them!