Fertility doctor quits insemination after sperm mix-ups

A veteran and well-known fertility doctor in Ottawa faces a disciplinary hearing later this month related to three cases of allegedly artificially inseminating women with the wrong sperm.

Order of Canada member Dr. Norman Barwin faces disciplinary hearing later in January

A renowned fertility doctor in Ottawa has quit artificially inseminating women as he prepares to face a disciplinary hearing for allegedly failing to use the correct sperm in three separate cases.

Dr. Norman Barwin, 71, voluntarily stopped his artificial insemination work after more than 30 years of performing the procedure. (Partners in Research)

Dr. Norman Barwin, 71, has worked at the Broadview Fertility Clinic for more than three decades, during which time he received an Order of Canada and a Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal for his work.

But in the last couple of years, Barwin has been accused of inseminating three different Ottawa women with sperm from men who were not the chosen surrogates, according to the notice of hearing from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO).

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

The mothers claimed DNA tests proved the intended donors were not the fathers of their children.

New case revealed from 1980s

The third case originated in 1986, when another woman alleged her child's DNA did not match that of her husband, whose sperm had been frozen prior to treatment for cancer, according to the notice of hearing.

All cases were settled out of court, so none of the allegations were ever proven. Barwin's lawyer has also denied the allegations.

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

The college has accused Barwin of being "incompetent in his artificial insemination practice, including, but not limited to, failing to ensure that the correct sperm was used in his artificial insemination practice."

His disciplinary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 31 in Toronto.

According to the college, discipline could include revoking or suspending Barwin's medical certificate.

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.