Fertility doctor loses licence after using his own sperm to inseminate hundreds of patients

A Canadian fertility doctor has lost his licence after it emerged he had been using his own sperm to inseminate patients over several decades.

Bernard Norman Barwin is facing a lawsuit alleging he used the wrong sperm in 50 to 100 births, including 11 cases in which he used his own.

A disciplinary panel for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario called Dr Barwin’s behaviour “appalling” and “reprehensible” and fined him $10,000 (£6,000).

The medical regulator told Dr Barwin he had betrayed patient trust and “deeply affected individuals and their families and caused irreparable damage that will span generations”.

Dr Barwin, 80, gave up his medical licence in 2014 after a prior case for artificially inseminating three women with the wrong sperm, which he blamed at the time on simple errors.

The claims date back as far as the 1970s

His later actions came to light when a woman became curious about her genetic background and researched her family tree.

Another, Rebecca Dixon, whose parents had gone to Dr Barwin to help them conceive, became suspicious when she was diagnosed with a genetic condition neither her mother nor father shared.

A DNA test confirmed Dr Barwin as her father.

Ms Dixon, 28, told the hearing she felt “repulsed” and “contaminated” when she discovered the fertility doctor was her biological father.

"In that moment, my life changed forever," she said in a victim impact statement.

"For a while I felt dissociated with my own face, as if the person looking at back at me in the mirror wasn’t fully me anymore."

She said that the discovery also put a strain on her family, who are suing the doctor. 

Her father, she said, "had to learn to accept that the daughter he had raised and loved was not in fact his biological child".

She added: “My mum had to work through the fact that something had happened to her body without her knowing, or giving permission.”

So far she has discovered she has 15 half-siblings but expects the number to grow.

The claims date back to the Seventies and include patients from at least two fertility clinics in Ontario.

Dr Barwin did not appear before the disciplinary panel but pleaded no contest through his lawyer.

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