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THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS OBTAINED FROM THE DOCTOR SEARCH SECTION OF THE WEBSITE OF THE COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS AND SURGEONS OF ONTARIO WWW.CPSO.ON.CA
Date: 17/07/2019 5:09:57 AM

Barwin, Bernard Norman

CPSO#: 28666

MEMBER STATUS
Revoked: Discipline Committee as of 25 Jun 2019
CPSO REGISTRATION CLASS
None as of 25 Jun 2019
Flag: Indicates a concern or additional information

Summary

Former Name: No Former Name

Gender: Male

Languages Spoken: Afrikaans, English

Education:Queen's University of Belfast, 1965

Practice Information

Primary Location of Practice
Practice Address Not Available

Medical Records Location

Address: Accuro Health Services 18-700 Industrial Avenue Ottawa, ON K1G 0Y9 Telephone: 613-738-1242 Fax: 613-738-0562 Website: http://www.accuro.ca
Date Received: 02 Sep 2014

Registration History

Action Issue Date
First certificate of registration issued: Temporary Employment Practice Certificate Effective: 27 Jul 1973
Transfer of class of registration to: Independent Practice Certificate Effective: 17 Aug 1976
Transfer of class of certificate to: Restricted certificate Effective: 15 Feb 2012
Terms and conditions imposed on certificate Effective: 15 Feb 2012
Suspension of registration imposed: Discipline Committee Effective: 31 Jan 2013
Suspension of registration removed Effective: 31 Mar 2013
Expired: Resigned from membership. Expiry: 30 Aug 2014
Revoked: Discipline Committee. Effective: 25 Jun 2019

Previous Hearings Flag: indicates a concern or additional information

Committee: Discipline
Decision Date: 25 Jun 2019
Summary:

On June 25, 2019, the Discipline Committee found that Dr. Bernard Norman Barwin committed an act of 
professional misconduct in that he failed to maintain the standard of practice of the profession, and in 
that he engaged in acts or omissions relevant to the practice of medicine that, having regard to all the 
circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonorable or 
unprofessional. The Discipline Committee also found that Dr. Barwin is incompetent. 
 
Bernard Norman Barwin (“Dr. Barwin”) is an 80-year-old former physician who received his certificate of 
registration authorizing independent practice from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario 
(the “College”) on August 17, 1976. Dr. Barwin resigned his certificate of registration with the College on 
August 30, 2014. At the relevant times, Dr. Barwin practised at the Ottawa General Hospital and later at 
a clinic in Ottawa, Ontario. Dr. Barwin’s practice involved infertility, hormone therapy, weight loss and 
transgender care. 
 
Patient A and Ms AA 
 
In around 1989, Patient A went to Dr. Barwin with her husband for infertility treatment in order to 
conceive a child. Patient A’s husband stored sperm with Dr. Barwin, which Dr. Barwin was to use to 
artificially inseminate Patient A. 
 
Patient A and her husband attended at Dr. Barwin’s clinic on a number of occasions in 1989 for 
insemination attempts. Dr. Barwin represented to Patient A that he was inseminating her with her 
husband’s sperm. At each insemination attempt, Dr. Barwin showed Patient A and her husband the 
straw containing the sperm that he was using to inseminate Patient A. Dr. Barwin asked Patient A and 
her husband to verify that her husband’s initials or name were on it, in order to verify that Dr. Barwin 
was using Patient A’s husband’s sperm for the inseminations. 
 
Patient A conceived through the infertility treatment provided by Dr. Barwin, and had a daughter, Ms 
AA, in 1990. 
 
From the time of her birth until her young adult years, Patient A, her husband and Ms AA  believed that 
Ms AA was the biological daughter of Patient A’s husband.  
 
In 2016, Ms AA was diagnosed with celiac disease, which is genetic. Patient A and her husband do not 
have celiac disease. Ms AA and Patient A’s husband underwent blood testing. Ms AA’s blood type is O+, 
but Patient A’s husband’s blood type is AB. Patient A’s family learned that it is impossible for a person 
with type AB blood to conceive a child with type O blood. Patient A’s family underwent DNA testing, 
which revealed that Patient A’s husband was not Ms AA’s biological father. Patient A, her husband, and 
Ms AA were shocked.  
 
Patient B and Ms BB 
 
In around 1990, Patient B and her husband went to Dr. Barwin for infertility treatment. Patient B and 
her husband decided to try to conceive a child through artificial insemination using sperm from an 
anonymous donor. Patient B and her husband were shown a donor card with biographical information 
about the donor, including that he was a medical student. They selected this donor because of certain 
traits and characteristics the donor had that were important to them. 
 
 

Patient B and her husband attended at Dr. Barwin’s clinic on a number of occasions for insemination 
attempts. Dr. Barwin represented to Patient B and her husband that all of the insemination attempts 
were performed using the anonymous donor sperm they had selected. 
 
Through the infertility treatment provided by Dr. Barwin, Patient B became pregnant, and had a 
daughter, Ms BB, in the early 1990’s. 
 
Until late 2015, Patient B and her family believed that Ms BB was conceived with anonymous donor 
sperm. 
 
In the summer of 2015, Ms BB became curious about her genetic background and decided to look for 
half-siblings. She contacted an online DNA registry, which matched her with a second cousin of hers. 
Through contact with her second cousin and family tree research, Ms BB determined that her second 
cousin was a relative of Dr. Barwin. Ms BB began to suspect that Dr. Barwin was her biological father. 
 
Ms BB contacted Dr. Barwin to inquire whether he was her biological father. Dr. Barwin arranged for a 
DNA test and, in an email dated October 27, 2015, confirmed to Ms BB that he was her biological father. 
Dr. Barwin also sent an email dated April 22, 2016, to Patient B’s husband, and met with him to discuss 
the matter. In these emails and when he met with them, Dr. Barwin told Ms BB and Patient B’s husband 
that he did not know how this had happened and that the only occasion he had used his own semen was 
when he was calibrating an automatic sperm counter. This was false. Patient B and her husband felt 
betrayed and violated by Dr. Barwin. 
 
In September 2015, Ms BB and Ms AA compared their DNA test results, which strongly suggested that 
they were half-siblings. Further DNA testing confirmed that they were half-sisters by way of the same 
biological father. Dr. Barwin is that biological father. 
 
Civil Proceeding 
 
Dr. Barwin is now the defendant in a class action lawsuit from his former patients and their children. It is 
alleged that: 
 
-  50-100 children were conceived after their mothers received the wrong semen from Dr. Barwin; 
-  Of these, 11 children are genetically matched to Dr. Barwin through DNA testing with Ms AA and/or 
   Ms BB 
 
The class action was commenced in 2016 and attracted media coverage. The College initiated an 
investigation on the basis of the media coverage.  
 
Patient C 
 
Patient C and her husband were referred to Dr. Barwin for infertility treatment around 1975 -1976. They 
decided to try to conceive a child through artificial insemination performed by Dr. Barwin. Patient C’s 
husband provided sperm samples to Dr. Barwin, which were to be used to inseminate Patient C.  
 
Patient C and her husband attended at the hospital for a number of insemination attempts performed 
by Dr. Barwin. Dr. Barwin represented to Patient C that all of the inseminations were performed using 
her husband’s sperm. 
 

 
After a number of attempts, Patient C conceived through the treatment provided by Dr. Barwin, and had 
twins, a boy and a girl, in the late 1970’s. Dr. Barwin also provided pre-natal care to Patient C. 
 
Until 2016, Patient C had complete trust in Dr. Barwin and believed that her children were the biological 
children of her husband. Patient C continued to see Dr. Barwin for routine gynaecological care for ten to 
fifteen years after her children were born. 
 
Patient C and her husband raised their two children. They always believed them to be the biological 
children of Patient C’s husband. 
 
In 2016, Patient C and her husband saw media coverage about Ms AA and Ms BB. They subsequently 
obtained DNA testing for their children, which confirmed that their twin children are not the biological 
children of her husband, and that they are the half-siblings of Ms AA and Ms BB by way of the same 
biological father. Dr. Barwin is that biological father. 
 
Patient D 
 
Patient D and her husband went to see Dr. Barwin for infertility treatment in around 1975-1977 in order 
to conceive a child through artificial insemination performed by Dr. Barwin using Patient D’s husband’s 
sperm. 
 
Patient D conceived through the artificial insemination treatment performed by Dr. Barwin. Her son was 
born in the late 1970’s.  
 
Patient D raised her son believing him to be the biological son of her husband.  
 
In 2016, Patient D’s son saw media coverage about Ms AA and Ms BB, and noted similarities in 
appearance between Ms AA and Ms BB and himself. When he was in school, people had often joked 
that they thought he was adopted. Patient D’s son subsequently underwent DNA testing, which 
confirmed that he is the half-sibling of Ms AA by way of the same biological father. Dr. Barwin is that 
biological father. 
 
Patient E 
 
Patient E and her husband went to Dr. Barwin for infertility treatment in around 1982. They were unable 
to conceive children and decided to try to conceive a child through artificial insemination provided by 
Dr. Barwin. The insemination was to be performed by Dr. Barwin using donor sperm chosen by Patient E, 
which Dr. Barwin represented was provided by an anonymous local medical student. Patient E 
specifically requested that Dr. Barwin use a donor who resembled her husband.  
 
Patient E and her husband attended at the hospital to see Dr. Barwin for a number of insemination 
attempts. Dr. Barwin represented to Patient E that all of the inseminations were performed using the 
donor sperm chosen by Patient E. 
 
Patient E conceived through the treatment provided by Dr. Barwin, and had a daughter in the 1980’s.  
 
 

Patient E and her husband returned to Dr. Barwin again for infertility treatment in 1986. Patient E again 
underwent artificial insemination provided by Dr. Barwin. The insemination was to be performed by Dr. 
Barwin using the same donor sperm as was used for her daughter, so that her daughter would have a 
full biological sibling. Patient E told Dr. Barwin that this was very important to her, and Dr. Barwin told 
her that it was the same donor. 
 
Patient E conceived again, and gave birth to another daughter in the late 1980’s. 
 
Patient E often felt that her first daughter resembled Dr. Barwin, but she would push those thoughts 
aside because she could not believe that Dr. Barwin would have used his sperm to father her child.  
Patient E and her husband saw media coverage about Ms AA in 2016, and noticed that Ms AA resembled 
their first daughter. Patient E’s daughters subsequently underwent DNA testing, which confirmed that 
her first daughter is the half-sibling of Ms AA by way of the same biological father. Dr. Barwin is that 
biological father. DNA testing revealed that Patient E’s other daughter is not the biological child of Dr. 
Barwin. This means that Patient E’s children are biological maternal half-siblings, rather than biological 
full siblings. Patient E’s family found this traumatic. 
 
Patient F 
 
Patient F and her husband went to see Dr. Barwin for infertility treatment in around 1989. Patient F 
decided to undergo artificial insemination provided by Dr. Barwin. The artificial insemination was to be 
performed by Dr. Barwin using donor sperm chosen by Patient F from an anonymous local medical 
student. Dr. Barwin told Patient F and her husband some information about the donor’s background, 
appearance and interests. Patient F requested that Dr. Barwin use this donor for her alone. It was 
important to her to have children who were full biological siblings.  
 
Patient F and her husband attended at Dr. Barwin’s clinic for a number of insemination attempts. Dr. 
Barwin represented to Patient F and her husband that all of the inseminations were performed using 
sperm from her chosen donor. 
 
Patient F became pregnant through treatment provided by Dr. Barwin, and had a daughter in the 1990’s.  
 
Patient F and her husband returned to Dr. Barwin for infertility treatment in around 1992. Patient F 
again underwent artificial insemination provided by Dr. Barwin. The artificial insemination was to be 
performed by Dr. Barwin using the same donor as for her first daughter, so that her daughter would 
have a full biological sibling. Dr. Barwin knew that Patient F wanted to have children who were biological 
siblings, and assured her that the sperm from her previous donor had been saved and would be used for 
her alone. 
 
Patient F became pregnant through Dr. Barwin’s treatment a second time, and her son was born in the 
1990’s. 
 
In 2017, Patient F saw media coverage about Ms AA, who she saw resembled her daughter. Patient F’s 
daughter subsequently underwent DNA testing, which confirmed that she is the half-sibling of Ms AA by 
way of the same biological father. Dr. Barwin is that biological father. The DNA testing also confirmed 
that Patient F’s son is not the biological child of Dr. Barwin. This means that Patient F’s children are 
biological maternal half-siblings, rather than biological full siblings. 
 
 

Mr. G 
 
Mr. G was born in the late 1980’s. When he was in his twenties, Mr. G’s parents told him that they had 
received fertility treatments to conceive him through in vitro fertilization (IVF) in Ottawa. 
 
In around 2016 or 2017, Mr. G registered his DNA on a DNA registry website, which put him in contact 
with Dr. Barwin’s family member. Dr. Barwin’s family member told Mr. G about Ms AA and Dr. Barwin.  
 
Mr. G subsequently underwent DNA testing, which confirmed that he is the half-sibling of Ms AA by way 
of the same biological father. Dr. Barwin is that biological father. 
 
Patient H 
 
Patient H and her husband went to see Dr. Barwin for infertility treatment in around 2002 in order to 
conceive a child. Patient H and her husband decided to try to conceive a child through artificial 
insemination provided by Dr. Barwin. Initially, the inseminations were to be performed by Dr. Barwin 
using her husband’s sperm, but after a number of attempts Patient H and her husband decided to try 
using donor sperm that she and her husband selected from a sperm bank, based on characteristics that 
were important to them. 
 
Patient H and her husband attended at Dr. Barwin’s clinic for a number of insemination attempts. At 
each appointment, Dr. Barwin showed Patient H the vial to verify that the donor number was printed on 
the label and that he was using the donor sperm she and her husband had chosen. 
 
Patient H became pregnant through the treatment provided by Dr. Barwin, and her son was born in the 
early 2000’s. 
 
Patient H later tried to have a second child through artificial insemination provided by Dr. Barwin. This 
child was supposed to be a full biological sibling of her son. Patient H purchased all the remaining 
samples from her donor and underwent several more treatments with Dr. Barwin. Dr. Barwin told 
Patient H that he would split the remaining samples and only use half of a vial at each attempt, in order 
to make them last longer. Patient H did not conceive another child.  
 
After seeing media coverage about Ms AA and Ms BB in November 2016, Patient H looked for the donor 
on a donor sibling registry website. The donor that she had selected had voluntarily put his contact 
information on the site. Patient H contacted the donor and obtained DNA testing for her son and her 
chosen donor, which confirmed that her son is not the biological child of the donor she had chosen. The 
testing also confirmed that her son is not a half-sibling of Ms AA or Ms BB. 
 
Patient H’s son has learning disabilities. She is unable to locate any information about the medical 
history of her son’s biological father. This has been very difficult for Patient H. 
 
Patient I 
 
Patient I and her husband were not able to have children, so they attended Dr. Barwin for infertility 
treatments in around 1987-1988. Patient I decided to try to have children through artificial insemination 
provided by Dr. Barwin. Patient I was to receive artificial insemination for two children, both from the 
same anonymous donor. Dr. Barwin told Patient I that the donor was a local medical student and gave 
 

Patient I some information about the donor, including that he had a similar background and the same 
blood type as Patient I’s husband. Dr. Barwin only ever provided Patient I with a single donor profile.  
 
Patient I and her husband attended at Dr. Barwin’s clinic for a number of insemination attempts. Dr. 
Barwin represented to Patient I that he performed all of her inseminations with sperm from the same 
donor. 
 
Patient I conceived twice through treatment provided by Dr. Barwin, and had two children: a daughter 
born in the late 1980’s, and a son born in the late 1980’s. 
 
Patient I always trusted Dr. Barwin to use the same donor sperm for all inseminations. As such, she 
believed that her children were full biological siblings.  
 
After Patient I heard about the lawsuit involving Dr. Barwin, she obtained DNA testing for her children, 
which confirmed that they are biological maternal half-siblings rather than biological full siblings.  
 
Patient J 
 
Patient J and her husband attended Dr. Barwin for infertility treatment in around 2003 and 2005. Patient 
J’s husband provided samples of his semen that were frozen in 2002, which Dr. Barwin was to use to 
artificially inseminate her.  
 
Patient J and her husband attended at Dr. Barwin’s clinic for a number of insemination attempts. At 
each appointment, Dr. Barwin showed Patient J and her husband the vial, with her husband’s name and 
date of birth printed on the sticker, in order to verify that he was using her husband’s sperm. During the 
inseminations, Dr. Barwin had Patient J’s husband push the plunger on the syringe, which was supposed 
to contain his sperm.  
 
Patient J conceived through treatment provided by Dr. Barwin twice and had two children: a daughter, 
born in the early 2000’s; and a son, born in the mid-2000’s.  
 
In 2016, Patient J saw media coverage about Ms AA and Ms BB. Patient J subsequently obtained DNA 
testing for her children that confirmed that her husband was not their biological father. 
 
Patient J’s children are full biological siblings. Through DNA registry websites, Patient J was able to track 
down the donor that was used to conceive her children. The news that Patient J’s children are not the 
biological children of her husband was very difficult for their family. 
 
Patient K 
 
Patient K attended Dr. Barwin for fertility treatment in around 1991-1993. Patient K underwent 11 
artificial insemination procedures provided by Dr. Barwin. The artificial insemination was supposed to be 
performed using sperm from a donor selected by Patient K from donor profiles provided by Dr. Barwin. 
Patient K reviewed the donor profiles Dr. Barwin provided and selected a donor based on the donor’s 
medical history. The donor number selected by Patient K was stored in her patient chart, and Dr. Barwin 
represented to Patient K that all of her inseminations were performed using the donor sperm she had 
selected. 
 
 

Patient K conceived through the treatment provided by Dr. Barwin, and her son was born in the early 
1990’s. 
 
Patient K decided to have a second child, and returned to Dr. Barwin for further artificial inseminations 
after her son was born. The insemination was supposed to be performed by Dr. Barwin using the same 
donor she had chosen for her son. Dr. Barwin knew that Patient K wanted her son to have a full 
biological sibling.  
 
Patient K became pregnant again through the treatment provided by Dr. Barwin, and had a daughter, 
born in the early 1990’s. 
 
After her daughter was born, Patient K requested a copy of the donor profile she selected from Dr. 
Barwin. Dr. Barwin provided Patient K with a donor profile that was not the one she had selected for her 
children. When Patient K pointed out to Dr. Barwin that the profile she had been given was not the 
donor she had selected, Dr. Barwin told Patient K that she should just be happy that she had two 
children. Patient K was upset, because it was important to her for Dr. Barwin to have used the donor 
selected and to have the information about that donor. 
 
After seeing media coverage about the lawsuit against Dr. Barwin, Patient K obtained DNA testing for 
her children, which confirmed that they are biological maternal half-siblings, rather than biological full 
siblings. This confirmed that, contrary to what she had been told at Dr. Barwin’s clinic, Dr. Barwin did 
not use the same donor for both of her children. 
 
Patient L 
 
Patient L went to see Dr. Barwin for fertility treatment in around 1994-1996. She underwent artificial 
insemination provided by Dr. Barwin. The artificial insemination was supposed to be performed by Dr. 
Barwin using donor sperm. Dr. Barwin provided Patient L with background information on the donor, 
including ancestry, height, and eye colour.  
 
Patient L conceived through the treatment provided by Dr. Barwin, and her son was born in the early-
1990’s. 
 
Patient L returned to Dr. Barwin for further artificial insemination after her son was born. Dr. Barwin was 
supposed to perform the insemination with the same sperm donor as was used for her son. 
 
Patient L conceived again, and her daughter was born in the mid 1990’s. 
 
Patient L’s two children have undergone DNA testing, which confirmed that they are not biological full 
siblings, and that Dr. Barwin did not use the same donor sperm for both of Patient L’s children. 
 
Patient M 
 
Patient M and her husband went to see Dr. Barwin for infertility treatment in 2002. Patient M’s husband 
had previously frozen his semen prior to receiving treatment for a medical condition. Patient M 
underwent a number of artificial inseminations provided by Dr. Barwin. Dr. Barwin was to use the sperm 
Patient M’s husband had previously frozen and provided to Dr. Barwin. At the appointments, Dr. Barwin 
 

showed Patient M the straw with her husband’s name and birth date on it in order to verify that he was 
using her husband’s sperm. 
 
Patient M conceived through the treatment provided by Dr. Barwin, and her daughter was born in the 
early 2000’s.  
 
After Patient M saw media coverage about Dr. Barwin, she obtained DNA testing for her daughter. The 
DNA test confirmed that her daughter is not the biological daughter of Patient M’s husband. 
 
Patient M’s daughter grew up believing Patient M’s husband to be her father. Patient M and her 
husband have not told their daughter that Patient M’s husband is not her biological father. Patient M 
and her husband have had a difficult time as a result of the news that Patient M’s husband is not her 
child’s father. 
 
College Expert 
 
The College retained Dr. Edward G. Hughes, an experienced obstetrician/gynecologist who practices 
fertility medicine and works as a faculty member at McMaster University, to review this matter and 
opine on Dr. Barwin’s care. In his reports, Dr. Hughes opined as follows: 
            Was Dr. Barwin’s care below the standard for the relevant time period? 
            My response to this question is based on the practice of other REI [Reproductive 
            Endocrinology and Infertility] clinics and physicians at that time and what was 
            taught to Residents and Fellows in training. It was always made clear to these 
            clinicians, that preparing and administering gametes to patients is a very serious 
            process with a debt of care to both the potential parent(s) and unborn children. 
            As such, profound care and diligence were expected and required in this process, 
            similar in many ways to the administration of a blood transfusion or the 
            transplantation of an organ. Failure to get this right could result in serious harm 
            to recipients and their children. And yet the actual process of handling and 
            administering gametes was and is, straightforward. It requires great care and 
            attention to detail, but the steps required are simple: careful cleaning, 
            preparation, identification and labeling, careful handling of gametes then multiple 
            cross-checking with staff and the recipient-patient(s). Careful, accurate and 
            secure record keeping is also mandatory. This degree of care and attention 
            ensures that patients receive the correct sample: the one with which they 
            expected to be inseminated. 

            Dr. Barwin’s handling and administration of gametes to his patients fell well 
            below the expected standard of care. […] That standard was to provide safe, 
            effective and secure management of patients’ gametes, to communicate with 
            them clearly and honestly about the nature of the husband- or donor- sample 
            being used for insemination and to keep accurate and complete records of what 
            has transpired. Repeatedly, over several decades, his care fell below this 
            standard. However, it is the scale of this deficiency that’s startling, with up to 51 
            cases so far identified with the wrong paternal DNA and 11 so far identified with 
            Dr. Barwin’s as the biological father.” 
 

            Lack of knowledge, skill or judgment? 
            … 
            Though it’s hard to be certain, Dr. Barwin was likely well informed and up to date 
            with developments at the time. However, the extraordinary number of cases 
            involving the administration of incorrect samples to patients, suggest that he 
            lacked the basic skills required and expected, in the management of samples and 
            records relating to them. 

            Regarding the insemination of patients with his own sperm, could lack of 
            knowledge or skill have been to blame? Dr. Barwin suggested to two patients that 
            his paternity must have occurred as a result of accidental contamination, resulting 
            form [sic] his failure to clean an automated counting chamber that he tested 
            using his own sperm (explanation give to •, •’s father…). He told • and her father 
            • that “at the time I was testing a new automated sperm counter and used my 
            own sample as a control” (email to Mr •, father of •).  

Dr. Hughes considered Dr. Barwin’s explanation involving Dr. Barwin’s use of an automated sperm 
counter, which Dr. Barwin provided to Ms BB and Patient B’s husband as the reason for him being the 
biological father of Ms BB. Dr. Hughes outlined several reasons why Dr. Barwin’s explanation is 
implausible, and concluded that it could not have been the cause of all of the errors: 
 
            “Counting” sperm is a process that uses only a tiny aliquot of the whole semen 
            sample and that aliquot is always subsequently discarded. It usually measures 
            between 5070 microliters or approximately 3% of a 2.5ml ejaculate. The aliquot is 
            taken from the whole sample with a clean, sterile, disposable plastic micropipette 
            tip and placed on a microscope slide or into an automated counting chamber for 
            evaluation. The micro-pipette tip used to draw up the aliquot is immediately 
            discarded, once the 75 microliter droplet has been placed into the counting 
            chamber. Once that evaluation is done, whether manually or automatically, that 
            slide is also discarded. The micro-drop of semen assessed is never, ever, 
            reintroduced into the sample being processed for insemination. Failure to clean 
            the counting chamber might thus interfere with and confound the counting of the 
            next sample to be evaluated, but would not introduce any of Dr. Barwin’s sperm 
            into the patient’s insemination sample 
            … 

            For a single pregnancy to have occurred in these ways would have been 
            remarkable. For eleven pregnancies to have been sired in this way, over two or 
            more decades is neither statistically plausible nor believable 
            … 

            … Even if Dr. Barwin had continued to make the same error over and over again, 
            because he was testing yet another ‘new automated sperm counter,’ the 11 
            pregnancies so far identified from his sperm would simply not have been 
            conceived, based on the above explanations and probabilities. The use of his own 
            sperm thus appears to be unrelated to poor skill, knowledge or judgment. 
 

Dr. Hughes opined on whether Dr. Barwin’s actions caused harm to patients:  
 
            … Dr. Barwin’s actions have resulted in significant pain and suffering that will 
            extend forward through future generations, as offspring have their own children 
            and grandchildren. 

            Whether Dr. Barwin’s actions were accidental or willful, the suffering he has 
            caused remains deep and wide. Husbands and partners have been denied a 
            genetic link to their offspring. Siblings now find that not only do they have an 
            unknown man as their biological parent, they are not paternally related to each 
            other. Mothers expecting their husbands’ sperm or those of a particular donor’s 
            to be used, instead have conceived and birthed biologically unrelated children. 

            Offspring are living an avoidable genetic disconnection from their fathers and 
            have no access to their genetic heritage. This clearly has and will continue to 
            create stress, angst and pain among families. The children whom Dr. Barwin 
            fathered himself are burdened in these and other even more profound ways. 
            They know that their own DNA and that of their children and beyond, will always 
            be linked to him and his actions. 
            … 

            It is thus clear that Dr. Barwin’s insemination practice leaves in its wake, deep, 
            wide and extraordinary harm to the parents who in good faith and trust, sought 
            his care and to their affected offspring. His patients trusted him. 
            …. 

            The children whom Dr. Barwin’s patients bore, also attest to the pain he caused. 
            The sample of interviews conducted by Ms. Jenereaux sheds some light on the 
            scope of this harm, but many other voices have not informed this report. Some of 
            those are seeking redress through a class action suit, but still other patients may 
            be suffering in silence because fear or shame prevents them from coming 
            forward. It is impossible to know who many of those cases exist, but it seems 
            likely to me that patients who know about, but have been unable to face up to 
            their circumstances, may actually be suffering more acutely and deeply than 
            those who have come forward, because they have no options for support or 
            redress. 

            Remember too, that many patients in a fertility practice fail to conceive. As many 
            as half of the couples presenting for care may remain childless, because of 
            advanced maternal age and other negative prognostic factors. Thus, for 51 
            children to have been born with incorrect sperm heritage, as many as 100 may 
            have received the wrong sperm during their treatment. And for 11 babies to have 
            been born as a result of Dr. Barwin inseminating women with his own sperm, 
            others were very likely subjected to it, but failed to conceive. The point here is 
            that we are seeing some of the scope of harm, but not all of it. 

Dr. Hughes concluded: 
 

            Clearly, when delivering care to patients, accidental harm occasionally occurs, 
            despite due diligence and adherence to the standard of care. The appropriate 
            response to such accidental harm is to understand and learn from what has 
            happened, take responsibility for any avoidable elements and make redress for 
            those. Did Dr. Barwin adhere to these standards? With regard to the 51 babies 
            conceived with the ‘wrong sperm,’ clearly not. Regarding the use of his own 
            sperm, could Dr. Barwin have done this accidentally? With eleven offspring so far 
            identified and an implausible explanation given to two of them, again I believe 
            not. 
            Did Dr. Barwin’s practice fall below the standards of care for that time? 
            Absolutely. 
            Was his knowledge below standard? Uncertain. 
            Were his skills below standard? Yes. 
            Was his judgment below standard? Yes. 
            Was harm done to patients? Yes. This is a tragic situation, in which a sea of 
            avoidable harm was done. 
 
Facts relevant to Penalty 
 
Dr. Barwin’s History with the College 
 
On February 15, 2012, Dr. Barwin entered into an undertaking with the College to voluntarily cease the 
practice of artificial insemination and intrauterine insemination (IUI). 
 
Dr. Barwin was the subject of a Discipline Committee hearing on January 31, 2013 regarding errors in his 
IUI practice. The hearing proceeded by way of an agreed statement of facts and admission. Dr. Barwin 
admitted that in two cases, he failed to use the donor sperm selected by the patients, and that in two 
other cases, unbeknownst to the patients, he failed to use the patients’ husbands’ sperm. The 
Committee ordered a two month suspension of his certificate of registration, a reprimand, and costs. 
 
Following another complaint involving a child conceived with sperm that did not match the intended 
father, Dr. Barwin entered into an undertaking effective August 30, 2014, resigning his certificate of 
registration with the College.  
 
Disposition 
 
On June 25, 2019, the Discipline Committee ordered that: 
 
-  The Registrar revoke Dr. Barwin’s certificate of registration effectively immediately. 
-  Dr. Barwin attend before the panel to be reprimanded. 
-  Dr. Barwin pay costs to the College in the amount of $10,370.00 within 30 days of the date of this 
   Order.

Hearing Date(s): June 25, 2019


Committee: Discipline
Decision Date: 31 Jan 2013
Summary:

On January 31, 2013, the Disciplined Committee found that Dr. Bernard Norman Barwin 
committed an act of professional misconduct, in that he has failed to maintain the standard of 
practice of the profession. Dr. Barwin admitted the allegation.  
 
Dr. Barwin is a general practitioner with additional training in obstetrics and gynaecology. He 
has practised in Ontario in artificial insemination, among other areas of medicine since 1973.  
 
Patient A became pregnant in 2004 as a result of artificial insemination conducted by Dr. Barwin. 
Approximately three years later, Patient A found out, through DNA testing, that her child was not 
the product of the donor sperm she had instructed Dr. Barwin to use to inseminate her. 
 
In or about late 2006/early 2007, Patient B went to Dr. Barwin with her sister, Patient C, who had 
agreed to act as Patient B's surrogate.  Dr. Barwin was to artificially inseminate Patient C with 
the sperm of Patient B's husband. Patient C discovered, through DNA testing in 2008, that her 
child was not the biological child of Patient B's husband.  
 
In or about 1985 and 1986, Patient D went to Dr. Barwin for the purpose of being artificially 
inseminated with her husband's sperm. In approximately 2011, Patient D discovered, through 
DNA testing, that her son was not her husband's biological child. 
 
The errors in the inseminations of Patients A and C occurred after Dr. Barwin had been notified 
by the College of an error he made in his insemination of another patient, Patient E, in 1994.  
Patient E discovered, following the birth of her child in June, 1995, that the child was not the 
product of the donor sperm she had instructed Dr. Barwin to use to inseminate her.  Dr. Barwin 
was notified of this error by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and states that he 
took some steps to endeavour to ensure that no such errors would occur in his practice in the 
future. 
 
Dr.  Barwin and an expert review were unable to identify any evident errors in the conduct of the 
artificial inseminations or in Dr. Barwin's office policies and procedures regarding his artificial 
insemination practice. However, Dr. Barwin accepts that errors in his practice, which would fall 
below the standard of care, resulted in his failure to provide his patients with offspring from their 
intended biological fathers. These concerns do not involve any other areas of Dr. Barwin's 
medical practice. 
 
The Discipline Committee ordered and directed that: 
 
      the Registrar suspend Dr. Barwin's certificate of registration for a period of two (2) 
      months commencing immediately. 
      Dr. Barwin attend before this panel to be reprimanded. 
      Dr. Barwin pay costs to the College in the amount of $3,650.00 within thirty (30) days of 
      the date of this Order. 
 
 


Decision: Download Full Decision (PDF)
Appeal: No Appeal
Hearing Date(s): January 31, 2013

Concerns Flag: indicates a concern or additional information

Source: ICR Committee
Active Date: August 30, 2014
Expiry Date:
Summary:
Dr. Barwin resigned from the College effective August 30, 2014 and has agreed never to apply or re-apply for registration as a physician in Ontario or any other jurisdiction.