A fertility doctor who inseminated up to 100 women with his own sperm has been fined $10,000.
Dr Norman Barwin, who ran Broadview Fertility Clinic in Ottawa, Canada, gave patients his own sperm instead of that of a donor or their partner, or mixed up samples.
The misconduct, which dates back to the 1970s, was uncovered after one of the children became curious about her heritage and got a genetic test while a second developed celiac disease, a genetic condition that neither parent was a carrier for.
The 80-year-old has been found to be the biological father to at least 16 children.
Dr Norman Barwin (pictured) inseminated at least 11 women with his own sperm and fathered 16 children at Broadview Fertility Clinic in Ottawa, Canada. He has been struck off by the regulator and fined Can$10,000 after one of his children did a genetic test which revealed that he was her father
Rebecca Dixon (left) found out that Barwin was her biological father when she was aged 25. Describing the impact she said, ‘for a while I felt dissociated with my own face, as if the person looking back at me in the mirror wasn’t fully me anymore’. Kat Palmer (right) realized with Rebecca that their DNA matched
Describing his actions as ‘appalling’ and ‘reprehensible’, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario said he ‘betrayed patients trust’.
‘Your actions deeply affected individuals and their families and caused irreparable damage that will span generations’, they said in their decision.
Rebecca Dixon told the hearing that she felt ‘repulsed’ and ‘contaminated’ when, at the age of 25, she learnt that Barwin was her biological father.
Barwin, who has since retired, was running Broadview Fertility Clinic in Ottawa. The regulator said his actions were ‘appalling’ and ‘reprehensible’
‘In that moment, my life changed forever,’ she said in a victim impact statement.
‘For a while I felt dissociated with my own face, as if the person looking back at me in the mirror wasn’t fully me anymore.’
Her father, while struggling with major health issues, ‘had to learn to accept that the daughter he had raised and loved was not in fact his biological child,’ she said.
‘My mum,’ she added, ‘had to work through the fact that something had happened to her body without her knowing, or giving her permission.’
In family portraits her brown eyes and olive skin stick out compared to her parents pale complexions.
After learning he is not Rebecca’s biological father, her father Dan said his world had been ‘turned upside down’.
‘Rebecca is our child, but she’s not our child. She is, but she’s not.’
Another patient said she still hadn’t told her teenage daughter that her father isn’t her biological father, reports the Ottawa Citizen.
‘I felt so violated, I felt dirty, almost as though I had been raped’, she said.
In its judgement, the college also struck off the retired doctor so that medical authorities would be alerted if he tried to practice in future.
Barwin did not attend the hearing.
The disciplinary panel heard evidence from 13 cases dating back to 1978 before reaching a verdict.
Kat pictured with a third newly discovered sibling named James. Barwin has also been accused of mixing up sperm in at least 50 to 100 cases
Kat pictured on Facebook (left) and Rebecca (right). In her victim impact statement she also said her father, while struggling with major health issues, ‘had to learn to accept that the daughter he had raised and loved was not in fact his biological child’
In 2013, Barwin was suspended for two months after admitting inseminating four women with the wrong sperm.
He resigned his licence to practice in 2014 after another former patient made a similar complaint.
The secret was blown open when Kat Palmer, 25, got a DNA test through an ancestry website and found out that she was related to a distant family member of Barwin’s.
When she asked the doctor for a paternity test in 2015 he emailed her the results which confirmed he was her biological father.
The doctor claimed at the time that the mix-up was unintentional, and must have happened when he was using his own sperm to test out a ‘sperm counter’.
Kat was overjoyed to have found a half-sibling and said it is ‘what I wanted all along’.
A third child of Barwin’s, James, found out the fertility doctor was his father after taking a DNA test and comparing his genetics to Kat’s online.
After communicating on Facebook, the two met in person.
Kat posted a photo to Instagram of the two meeting, with the caption: ‘Starting off my Family Day long weekend right by meeting some more of my ever expanding family.
‘On top of hanging out with my fantastic brother and lovely sister-in-law today, my heart definitely melted hearing my new niece say ‘Goodbye Auntie Kat’ as I got out of the car tonight.’