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Fertility doctor faces hearing Thursday in sperm mix-ups

01/30/2013 02:15 EST | Updated 04/01/2013 05:12 EDT
A renowned fertility doctor in Ottawa faces a disciplinary hearing Thursday in Toronto for allegedly failing to use the correct sperm in three separate cases.

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.

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.

Doctor stopped artificial insemination

Then 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."

A discipline panel is comprised of at least three people — two must be from the public and one must be a physician. Panels are usually made up of four or five members.

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.

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