Friday 9 December 2016

Fertility doctor accused of using own sperm to impregnate patients

Chris Graham

Published 04/11/2016 | 08:05

The doctor is alleged to have carried out the inseminations without the women's knowledge or consent (Stock photo)
The doctor is alleged to have carried out the inseminations without the women's knowledge or consent (Stock photo)

A former fertility doctor in Canada has been accused of using his own sperm to impregnate at least two patients.

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Dr Norman Barwin is alleged to have carried out the inseminations without the women's knowledge or consent, according to a statement of claim filed in an Ontario court on Tuesday.

The civil lawsuit is being brought by Daniel and Davina Dixon after discovering their 26-year-old daughter Rebecca was not Mr Dixon's biological daughter.

The Dixons, who are seeking punitive and other damages against the doctor, contacted Dr Barwin in 1989 to help them get pregnant.

Their daughter Rebecca was born the following year after what they thought was successful treatment.

"When I was younger, I was often asked if I was adopted. And we laughed about those situations," Ms Dixon told CBC News.

"I don't physically look a lot like my parents, but I look a little bit like my mother's mom ... I was never really concerned that there was any problem."

The family decided to get a test done in February this year after learning that it is unusual for two individuals with blue eyes to give birth to a child with brown eyes.

A blood test and DNA test confirmed Mr Dixon was definitely not Ms Dixon's father.

"I remember just this wave of shock going through my body," Ms Dixon said. "It's not something that you ever would imagine."

They began looking into the background of Dr Barwin, who was sanctioned in 2013 for inseminating three patients with the wrong sperm and resigned from the Order of Canada a year later. 

They also noticed "Rebecca bore an uncanny physical resemblance to Dr. Barwin", the statement of claim says.

Last month, Ms Dixon's DNA was compared with that of Kathryn Palmer, a 25-year-old whose parents were also patients of Dr Barwin and who found out last year that the doctor was her biological father.

The test results "concluded that they were half-sisters by way of the same biological father," said the statement of claim.

None of the allegations against Dr Barwin have been proven in court. Karen Hamway, Dr Barwin's lawyer, refused to comment on the new allegations. She told CBC News that Dr Barwin's statement of defence would be filed "in due course".

Telegraph.co.uk

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