A Canadian fertility doctor is being sued by dozens of people who claim he used his own or unknown sperm to impregnate their mothers.In November Dr Norman Barwin was sued after a DNA test said he was the father a former patient's daughter. At least 11 others now claim he is their biological father, lawyers say. More patients are expected to come forward.
The group filed a class-action lawsuit with about 50 offspring of former patients whose DNA does not match their intended biological father. The claims go as far back as the 1970s, and include patients from at least two fertility clinics in Ottawa, Ontario - Broadview Fertility Clinic and Ottawa General Hospital.
Dr Barwin's lawyer Karen Hamway declined to comment on the recent allegations. Lawyers Peter Cronyn and Frances Shapiro Munn say they have found 11 people whose parents went to Dr Barwin for fertility treatment who are allegedly his biological children, according to DNA tests. In some cases, they were supposed to be conceived with an anonymous donor, in others with their mother's spouse.
They have also found 16 other people who were supposedly conceived using their father's sperm but DNA tests reveal they are not a biological match to their father.
In these cases, the biological father is unknown, according to Mr Cronyn and Ms Shapiro Munn.
There are also 35 people who were supposed to be conceived using anonymous donor sperm who may not be a biological match with the intended donor, the lawyers claim.
News about the allegations came to light last November, when Daniel and Davina Dixon and their daughter Rebecca filed a civil lawsuit against Dr Barwin with Nelligan, O'Brien and Payne in an Ontario court. The lawyers say they will be updating their statement of claim with the new claimants.
The family decided to take legal action after learning that Rebecca was not Mr Dixon's biological daughter. The Dixons contacted Dr Barwin in 1989 to help them get pregnant and Rebecca was born a year later.
They began to suspect a possible mix up when Ms Dixon saw a Facebook post in February about how it was unusual for two individuals with blue eyes to give birth to a child with brown eyes.
"She was concerned because she and Daniel have blue eyes and Rebecca has brown eyes," says the statement of claim.
'Uncanny resemblance'The family had both a blood test and a DNA test performed. They confirmed there was no chance Mr Dixon was Rebecca's father.
They began to dig into Dr Barwin's history. He was sanctioned in 2013 for artificially inseminating three patients with the wrong sperm at his Ottawa clinic. They also noticed "Rebecca bore an uncanny physical resemblance to Dr. Barwin".
A few months later, Rebecca Dixon connected online with Kathryn Palmer, 25, who had discovered in 2015 that Dr Barwin was her biological father. Ms Palmer's parents were also Dr Barwin's patients.
Both women underwent a second DNA test. The results indicated they were half-sisters.
They later found another possible half-sister of Rebecca's, whose mother was also a patient of Dr Barwin.
Dr Barwin was previously sanctioned in 2013 for artificially inseminating three patients with the wrong sperm at his Ottawa clinic.
I read about a similar case years ago. I wondered then, what drives a doctor to behave this way. What do they get out of it ? Is it some kind of God complex ? Or could it be a weird sexual turn-on ?