In Sperm Donor 'Case Without Precedent,' a $10.7M Deal

Fertility doc accused of impregnating women with his own sperm agrees to settlement
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2021 7:30 AM CDT
Fertility Doc Accused of Using Own Sperm Makes $10.7M Deal
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Irina Shatilova)

A Canadian fertility doctor who lost his medical license in 2019 after being accused of impregnating multiple women with the wrong sperm—sometimes his own—has now agreed to fork over millions in a "groundbreaking" settlement. The Ottawa Citizen reports that the $10.7 million offer from Norman Barwin was announced Wednesday at a virtual hearing, a response to a class-action lawsuit involving 226 patients and family members, 100 of them children conceived when their parents went to Barwin to help them have kids. Per a statement from Nelligan Law, which represented plaintiffs in settlement negotiations and calls this a "case without precedent," of those 100 children, 17 have been proven to be the biological offspring of Barwin himself, while the other 83 "do not know the identity of their biological father," as Barwin didn't use the sperm they'd requested when they were trying to conceive. The cases date back to the early '70s.

The class-action suit was spearheaded five years ago by Dan and Davina Dixon, who gave birth to a baby girl named Rebecca in 1990, after enlisting Barwin's help. After a DNA test in 2016, when Rebecca was in her mid-20s, they found out Dan wasn't Rebecca's father—Barwin was, per the Washington Post. NBC News notes that Barwin, 82, has denied the accusations against him and that the settlement doesn't include an admission of any fault on his part—he says in the settlement he simply doesn't want to spend any more time or money dealing with the case. Under this proposed deal, ex-patients and children will stand to receive up to $40,000 or so in damages, if they choose to stay in the class-action suit. The deal also includes the establishment of a private DNA database for Barwin's former patients to see if they can make definitive matches with others. The settlement still needs a final OK from the Ontario Superior Court, which will render its decision at a November hearing. (More fertility doctor stories.)

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