Bernard Norman Barwin

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Bernard Norman Barwin was a general practitioner and medical professor. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1997, but resigned the award in 2013 after admitting to professional misconduct.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Barwin was born in South Africa to an Ashkenazi Jewish family. He attended Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland to complete his Medical Degree, graduating in 1965.[2]


Barwin was director of the High Risk Pregnancy Clinic and co-director of the Ottawa General Hospital's fertility clinic. He left in 1984 because he was not a certified gynaecologist in Canada. He would then establish his own clinic, though still licensed as a general physician.[3]

He was the Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Ottawa. He was also one of the founding members of Fertility Self-Help Group (ISSG), which later became the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada. He also founded Canadians for Choice and has been President since 2004. In addition, he was the President of the Canadian Fertility Society, the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada and Planned Parenthood Ottawa.[4]

In 1997, Barwin was appointed to the Order of Canada for having a "profound impact on both the biological and psycho-social aspects of women's reproductive health."[5] In 2009, he was awarded the Honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Carleton University.[6]

Professional misconduct[edit]

In 1995, Loree-Ann Huard and Wanda Cowton sued Barwin for allegedly using the wrong sperm donor.[7] The couple and Barwin settled out of court in 1998.[7]

In 2010, two former patients of Barwin brought lawsuits against him alleging that he had inseminated them with the wrong sperm.[7]

In January 2013, Barwin admitted to professional misconduct in regards to four women who were artificially inseminated with the wrong sperm.[8][9][10] A panel of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario found Barwin guilty of one of three counts of professional misconduct. They issued an official reprimand, revoked his license practice for two months, and ordered him to cover the $3,650 cost of the disciplinary proceedings.[3] A review of the incidences could find no "evident" reasons for the error.[3]

In 2013, Barwin resigned his appointment to the Order of Canada and it was formally removed later that year.[5][11]

On November 1, 2016, former patients of Barwin brought a class action against Barwin on behalf of his former patients and the children that Barwin helped conceive at his clinic, the Broadview Fertility Clinic.[12] The statement of claim alleged that Barwin used his own sperm when inseminating his patients.[12]

His medical license was revoked by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario in 2019.[13]


  1. ^ "Former Ottawa doctor impregnated 2 women with his own sperm, lawsuit alleges - CBC News".
  2. ^ "Doctor Details | Public Register Info | College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario". Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  3. ^ a b c DiManno, Rosie. "Wrong-sperm doctor Barwin took shortcuts in career and races, too". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  4. ^ "Who We Are | Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights". Archived from the original on March 12, 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Renowned Ottawa doctor loses Order of Canada appointment". iPolitics. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  6. ^ "Honorary Degrees Awarded Since 1954 - Senate".
  7. ^ a b c "Sperm donor mix-up: Where do these two girls come from?". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  8. ^ DiManno, Rosie. "After impregnating women with wrong sperm, a grudging apology from 'baby God'". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  9. ^ "Doctor Suspended For Inseminating Women With Wrong Sperm". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  10. ^ "Fertility doctor suspended, admits to 4th sperm mixup". CBC News. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  11. ^ Gazette, Government of Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada, Integrated Services Branch, Canada. "ARCHIVED — Canada Gazette – GOVERNMENT HOUSE". Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  12. ^ a b Motluk, Alison. "Lawsuit claims fertility doctor used his own DNA to inseminate patients". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  13. ^ "Fertility doctor's licence revoked after he used own sperm to inseminate patients". CBC News Toronto, June 25, 2019.