Canadian medical authorities have revoked the license of a fertility doctor who was found to have used his own sperm, or the wrong sperm, when he artificially inseminated between 50 and 100 patients.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario determined that Dr. Norman Barwin is incompetent, "committed an act of professional misconduct" and engaged in acts that "would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonorable or unprofessional."
The college initiated an investigation in 2016 after a class action lawsuit was filed against Barwin, 80. Eleven cases of artificial insemination were genetically matched to Barwin through DNA testing.
The allegations date to the 1970s and involved patients at the Ottawa General Hospital and another area clinic.
In one case detailed in the lawsuit, a woman identified as Patient B conceived a child using what she thought was sperm from an anonymous donor in the 1990s. Her daughter contacted an online DNA registry looking for half-siblings in late 2015 and found a second cousin who she discovered as a relative of Barwin through family tree research.
She contacted Barwin, who arranged a DNA test that confirmed he was her biological father. Barwin told her and Patient B's husband that his paternity must have occurred because of accidental contamination after he failed to clean an automated counting chamber that he tested using his own sperm.
Dr. Edward G. Hughes, an obstetrician/gynecologist who practices fertility medicine and was hired by the college to review Barwin's case, outlined several reasons why this explanation was implausible.
"For a single pregnancy to have occurred in these ways would have been remarkable," Hughes wrote. "For eleven pregnancies to have been sired in this way, over two or more decades is neither statistically plausible nor believable."
College officials reprimanded Barwin on Tuesday, calling his actions "beyond reprehensible," the Ottawa Citizen reported.
Ontario's medical regular found that Norman Barwin used his own sperm to inseminate women while he was practising as a fertility doctor. https://t.co/IuAj4wURGL— CBC News (@CBCNews) June 25, 2019
"Your patients represent a group who were vulnerable and who placed themselves and their families completely in your trust," disciplinary committee chair Dr. Steven Bodley told Barwin's lawyer. "You betrayed that trust and by your actions deeply affected individuals and their families and caused irreparable damage that will span generations."
Barwin received a two-month suspension in 2013 after he admitted to using the wrong sperm in four cases. After another complaint indicated that a child was conceived with the wrong sperm, Barwin voluntarily resigned his certificate of registration in 2014.
On Tuesday, a disciplinary panel revoked Barwin's license and fined him just over $10,000 CAD ($7,867 USD).
Follow N'dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg ---