An Ontario Superior Court judge has certified a $13.375-million class-action lawsuit against an Ottawa fertility doctor who used the wrong sperm to artificially inseminate patients. The Canadian fertility doctor has been accused of impregnating women with the wrong sperm, including using his own. The large settlement was announced on Wednesday at a virtual hearing.
More than 200 victims of a disgraced Ottawa fertility doctor, including 17 children conceived using his own sperm, will share in a proposed $13.375 million settlement for damages caused by his actions, reported Ottawa Citizen.
Proposed Settlement Is the First of Its Kind in the World
Norman Barwin, an Ottawa fertility doctor, used the wrong sperm to artificially inseminate patients. Nelligan Law, a law firm in Ottawa says the proposed settlement against Barwin is the first of its kind in the world. The settlement provides compensation to patients and their children where the DNA of the child is not as was intended by the parents at the time of artificial insemination performed by Barwin.
100 Children of Patients Seen by Barwin Don't Possess the DNA of their Intended Biological Father
The lawsuit was launched in 2016 by Davina, Daniel and Rebecca Dixon after a DNA test revealed Rebecca was Barwin's biological daughter. It has since grown to include scores of other plaintiffs, including former patients and the children conceived through the treatments they received.
Peter Cronyn of Nelligan Law told CTV News Ottawa there are currently 226 people involved in the class-action, including 126 parents and 100 children. Nelligan Law says 17 people have discovered Barwin is their biological father, while 83 people do not know the identity of their biological father.
Who is Bernard Norman Barwin?
Barwin is a Canadian gynecologist and medical professor. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1997, but resigned the award in 2013 after admitting to professional misconduct.
Barwin was director of the High Risk Pregnancy Clinic and co-director of the Ottawa General Hospital's fertility clinic. He left in 1984 because he was not a certified gynecologist in Canada.
In 2019, Barwin was declared "incompetent" by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. Barwin gave up his medical license years ago, and it was revoked by Ontario's medical regulator in 2019.
Allegations against Barwin date back to the 1970s. They involve patients seen at the Ottawa General Hospital and another area clinic.
How did Davina and Daniel Dixon Discover the Truth?
According to court documents, Davina and Daniel Dixon went to Barwin in 1989 because they needed help starting a family. After several sessions with Barwin, Davina became pregnant and gave birth to a girl named Rebecca in 1990, reported NBC News.
The documents state that Davina was browsing on Facebook and saw a post that said it was unusual for two people with blue eyes to give birth to a child with brown eyes, which was the family's case. Davina became "concerned" and contacted their family doctor to request a DNA test. The results showed there was a zero percent chance that Daniel was Rebecca's biological father.
The family started doing research and came across media reports about Barwin. They also began noticing the "uncanny physical resemblance" between Rebecca and the doctor, the documents state. Many other similar instances have come to the limelight.
What Compensation Does the Settlement Provide?
The proposed settlement will grant payments to families and individuals who received the wrong sperm sample at the time of their artificial inseminations. It also provides funds for individuals whose semen was used by Barwin with the incorrect family or mother.
Part of the settlement will include money to operate a DNA database to help former patients to determine the identity of their biological father. The court will review the settlement at a hearing on November 1.
Barwin has Denied Wrongdoing in the Allegations
The proposed settlement notes that he "continues to deny all of the Plaintiffs' claims" and has denied "liability of any kind whatsoever." The document states that Barwin agreed to the settlement "in order to avoid the time, risk and expense of continuing with the litigation."