We have commenced a class action against Dr. Norman Barwin on behalf of his former patients and the children that Dr. Barwin helped conceive at his clinic, the Broadview Fertility Clinic.

We are in the process of contacting people who have been in touch with us. We would encourage anyone who has not yet reached out to us but who have concerns about Dr. Barwin to contact us as soon as possible.

Please contact Robyn Beaulne at: robyn.beaulne@nelligan.ca

Update. April 5, 2018

Class Action against Dr. Barwin. Media Release.

Media Release in PDF (71Kb).

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Since we issued the Statement of Claim in November 2016, we have been in contact with over 150 individuals who have been adversely affected by Dr. Barwin’s fertility practice going back as far as 1978.

We are now aware of 11 individuals whose parents went to Dr. Barwin for assistance with fertility and DNA investigation discloses that he is their biological father. In some cases, the intention was for Dr. Barwin to use the sperm of the male of the couple.  In others, a specific anonymous sperm donor had been selected.  Instead, it turns out that Dr. Barwin himself is the biological father.

In addition to the individuals conceived with Dr. Barwin’s biological material, we have also become aware of:

  • 16 individuals who were to be conceived using their father’s sperm and who are not a biological match to their father. In these cases, the biological father is unknown.
  • 35 individuals who were to be conceived using anonymous donor sperm and may not be a biological match with intended donor. In these cases, the biological father is also unknown.

At the time of preparing the original claim, we were only aware of problems with Dr. Barwin’s fertility practice while he operated out of the Broadview Fertility Clinic.  But from the claimants we have seen, it is now clear that these problems also occurred while Dr. Barwin practised out of the Fertility Clinic at the Ottawa General Hospital and going back as far as the 1970s.

We have also learned that there are individuals who stored sperm with Dr. Barwin which was later transferred to other fertility clinics.  Subsequent investigation disclosed that the sperm had been contaminated with another unidentified individual’s sperm. The parents were no longer able to use the sperm.

We have also been contacted by numerous men who are concerned about what happened to the sperm they stored with Dr. Barwin. They are concerned that their material may have been used to conceive a child that they do not know about.

We are in the process of amending the Statement of Claim to capture these new developments.  At the same time, we are finalizing the materials for the certification of the class action. Once the action is certified as a class action, the next step will be to establish the process for the claims to be adjudicated and resolved. We expect the action to be certified in the coming months and the framework for resolution to follow after that.

As part of the resolution process, we are working on solutions for everyone in the class action. We are working on a framework to allow those individuals who were not conceived with the intended sperm but also not Dr. Barwin’s sperm to ascertain who their biological fathers are and any half-siblings. For those who were conceived with Dr. Barwin’s material, we are working on a method for preserving their ability to collect health information from Dr. Barwin now and in the future.

Update. December 12, 2017

We are continuing to prepare materials for the certification of the class action. Once the action is certified as a class action, the next step will be establishing the process for the claims to be adjudicated and resolved. We expect the action to be certified in the first half of 2018 and the process for dealing with the claims to be in place shortly thereafter.

Since the class action was issued last year, we continue to be contacted by many people who were former patients of Dr. Barwin and their children. We are not in a position just yet to provide the full details but from the discussions we have had so far, the following is becoming apparent to us:

  • Problems arising from Dr. Barwin’s practice may have occurred at all points in time throughout his practice in Ontario, including the time period in which he worked at the Ottawa Hospital in the 1970s and 1980s and continuing through the time period of 1984 to 2014 when he operated his own practice at the Broadview Fertility Clinic. Therefore, it is important to note that anyone at any point in time who saw Dr. Barwin for assistance in conceiving a child in Ontario at either the Ottawa Hospital or at the Broadview Fertility Clinic may be affected.
  • It appears that Dr. Barwin made insemination errors with both patient sperm and donor sperm.
  • Individuals or couples who received Dr. Barwin’s assistance in conceiving a child with anonymous donor sperm may have conceived a child with the wrong sperm i.e. sperm that was not from their chosen or selected donor;
  • Couples who received Dr. Barwin’s assistance for the purposes of conceiving a child together, where the father’s sperm was to be used and only the father’s sperm was to be used, may have conceived a child with another individual’s sperm.
  • It appears that sperm that was stored with Dr. Barwin for preservation and safe-keeping may also be contaminated. Anyone who stored sperm with Dr. Barwin, but conceived a child at another clinic or with another doctor, may also be affected. Further, anyone who still had sperm stored with Dr. Barwin when he retired, and who transferred that sperm to another clinic in hopes of using it one day but have not yet conceived a child, may now be in possession of contaminated sperm.
  • It appears that Dr. Barwin’s own DNA material was involved in the artificial insemination process in more than the two occasions detailed in the Statement of Claim (i.e. in Rebecca Dixon’s and Kathryn Palmer’s cases). If you are concerned that Dr. Barwin’s DNA material may have been involved in your artificial insemination process, please contact us so that we can arrange for DNA testing.

We encourage anyone who has not yet reached out to us but who has concerns about whether they may have been impacted in any way by Dr. Barwin’s  practice to contact us as soon as possible.

Our claim alleges Dr. Barwin negligently inseminated his patients with the wrong sperm. Specifically, our claim alleges that his patients conceived and gave birth to children whose DNA does not match their intended sperm donors.

We are also alleging that in some cases, Dr. Barwin used his own sperm in the artificial insemination procedure and that he is the biological father of an unknown number of children who were conceived at his clinic.

The class action includes three Plaintiff classes:

  1. Patients of Dr. Barwin who were inseminated with the wrong biological material i.e. with sperm other than the sperm they consented to being used by Dr. Barwin for the purposes of artificial insemination.
  2. Patients of Dr. Barwin who:
    • were not inseminated by way of artificial insemination, but who became a parent to a child conceived with the assistance of Dr. Barwin and whose DNA does not match the DNA of the child’s sperm donor; and/or
    • provided their sperm to Dr. Barwin to be used for artificial insemination pursuant to their instructions and it was not used for that purpose; and/or
    • provided their sperm to Dr. Barwin for safe-keeping and preservation and it was not so used.
  3. Persons who were conceived at the Broadview Fertility Clinic with the wrong biological material i.e. with biological material other than the material selected or chosen by their parents for the purposes of artificial insemination. This includes persons who were conceived using Dr. Barwin’s own sperm.

This site is intended to provide plaintiffs involved in the lawsuit with the most up-to-date facts, documents, news and information about the class action against Dr. Barwin.

Former patients of Dr. Barwin and/or their children who wish more information may contact Nelligan O’Brien Payne directly c/o Robyn Beaulne at 613- 231-8214 or robyn.beaulne@nelligan.ca.

 

Related media coverage:

Canadian fertility doctor accused of using own sperm to impregnate patients |  Xinhua | April 8, 2018
Ottawa fertility doctor implanted own sperm in clients 11 times, lawsuit alleges | Ottawa – CBC News | April 5, 2018
Lawsuit against fertility doctor accused of using own sperm expands to 150 people ‘adversely affected’ | Ottawa Citizen | April 6, 2018
Dozens sue Canadian fertility doctor for ‘using wrong sperm’ | BBC News | April 6, 2018
Canadian doctor accused of using own sperm in IVF treatment | The Guardian | April 6, 2018
Canadian doctor accused of secretly using his sperm to impregnate patients | Fox News | November 4, 2016
Allegations Ottawa fertility doctor used his own sperm underscore need for regulation | Ottawa – CBC News
Former Ottawa fertility doctor impregnated 2 women with his own sperm, lawsuit claims – Ottawa – CBC News
Fertility doctor accused of using own sperm to impregnate patients | Telegraph
Lawsuit claims fertility doctor used his own DNA to inseminate patients | The Globe and Mail
Infertile couples came to this ‘baby god’ for help. Now, they’re accusing him of betrayal | Washington Post
Ottawa family sues fertility doctor for use of wrong sperm – his own – The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti | CBC Radio
Lawsuit: Canadian doctor impregnated patients with own sperm | Houston Chronicle
Doctor accused of secretly using his sperm to impregnate patients | New York Post
Lawsuit claims Ottawa doctor used own sperm to impregnate fertility patients | Yahoo News
Lawsuit: Canadian doctor impregnated patients with own sperm – seattlepi.com
Lawsuit claims Ottawa doctor used own sperm to impregnate fertility patients | CP24.com
Ottawa fertility doctor accused of impregnating patients with his own sperm | CTV New
Un médecin d’Ottawa poursuivi pour avoir inséminé ses patientes avec son sperme| TVA Nouvelles
Lawsuit claims Ottawa doctor used own sperm to impregnate fertility patients | 680 NEWS
Lawsuit: Canadian Doctor Impregnated Patients With Own Sperm | ABC News
A fertility doctor is being accused of impregnating women with his sperm | Her.ie
Proposed class action against former Ottawa fertility doctor grows | CTV News
Class action against Ottawa fertility doctor grows | CTV News
This fertility doctor allegedly used his own sperm to impregnate many patients | CTV News
Fertility doctor is father to 11 of clients’ kids, lawsuit says | CNN
Barwin’s babies: The remarkable story of a disgraced Ottawa fertility doctor and those who say they are his children | Ottawa Citizen