Ottawa fertility doctor Norman Barwin has resigned from the Order of Canada months after he was reprimanded for inseminating women with the wrong sperm.

Dr. Norman Barwin received the Order of Canada for his work at the Broadview Fertility Clinic in Ottawa. He has also received a Queen's Jubilee Medal for his work over three decades.

But in January, Barwin was suspended from practising medicine for two months after pleading guilty to several allegations at a disciplinary hearing with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

Barwin was found guilty of professional misconduct and it was determined he failed to maintain a professional standard of practice and failed to use the correct sperm in insemination cases.

This is a different scenario than having a name removed from the Order by the Governor General.

The only Canadians to be removed from the Order are Alan Eagleson, David Ahenakew, T. Sher Singh, Steve Fonyo, and Garth Drabinsky, who was removed late last year.

Former media baron Conrad Black also currently has his Order of Canada appointment under review.

4 women received wrong sperm, Barwin admitted

In an agreed statement of facts, five women were involved in four artificial inseminations provided by Barwin between 1986 and 2007 and in all four cases DNA tests confirmed the women received the wrong sperm.

The College's panel heard Barwin inseminated four different Ottawa women with sperm from men who were not the chosen donors and he admitted to mistakenly mixing up the vials of sperm.

That led to two separate $1-million lawsuits filed by women in 2004 and 2006 that were reported by CBC News in September 2010.

The two lawsuits against Barwin were settled out of court, so none of the allegations were ever proven until Barwin's admissions at the January hearing.

In February 2012, Barwin volunteered to "permanently" stop the "practice of artificial insemination and intrauterine insemination," according to his College of Physicians and Surgeons profile.

Barwin received his medical schooling at Queen's University in Northern Ireland. He is also a past member of the Canadian Fertility Society and the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada.


  • A previous version of this article stated Dr. Barwin had been terminated from the Order of Canada after a decision by an advisory board. In fact, he had submitted his resignation to the Governor General, which was then approved and led to his termination. CBC News apologizes for and regrets the error.
    Sep 25, 2013 6:30 PM ET