Settlement Approved in Lawsuit Against Ottawa Fertility Doctor Who Allegedly Used Incorrect Sperm | The Canadian News

An Ontario court approved a settlement that will divide more than $ 13 million between families who allege that an Ottawa fertility doctor used their own and the wrong donors’ sperm to perform artificial inseminations.

Superior Court Judge Calum MacLeod signed the class action settlement against Dr. Norman Barwin in a virtual hearing today.

The settlement was proposed in July, as the case was certified as a class action, and the court heard that 18 more people have joined since then, for a total of 244.

Members of the class include former Barwin patients who allege they were artificially inseminated with sperm from the wrong donor, in some cases the doctor’s own sperm.

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They also include patients’ spouses, children conceived, as well as sperm donors who allege they entrusted Barwin to store their semen or use it for a specific purpose, only to discover that it was used without their consent to conceive a child.

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The court heard that the amount paid to each class member will depend on the category they belong to, as well as other factors, such as whether more people join the legal action.

MacLeod said he believes the settlement is best for everyone, adding that none of the class members objected or asked to exclude themselves.

“The closure is a benefit to families who have endured the shock, trauma and sense of betrayal of discovering that their genetic heritage or that of their children has been misrepresented and altered,” he said.

“On the contrary, the continuation of a legal procedure with an uncertain outcome would have prolonged and exacerbated the family trauma.”

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The judge called the settlement “substantial” and noted the difficulty of assessing what constitutes just compensation in such a unique case, given the absence of other similar cases.

“How can you measure the damage suffered by a child who discovers such a situation? After all, if there had been a different genetic origin, that particular child would not have existed, but the child’s entire life has been disrupted by a discovery that profoundly alters his sense of self, ”he said.

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“What is the defendant’s responsibility to the husbands of women who believed that their child had been conceived using their own semen or the semen of a donor that they had selected together? How can the damage be measured for women who were so deeply betrayed and whose consent to such an intimate procedure was flawed? ”.

Barwin accepted the deal, but continues to deny the allegations and any responsibility, according to court documents.

He gave up his medical license years ago. It was later overturned by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons after it failed to contest the misconduct allegations.

The lawsuit was started in 2016 by Davina, Daniel and Rebecca Dixon, who discovered through a DNA test that Rebecca was Barwin’s biological daughter.

Anyone not yet included in the class action lawsuit has 120 days to file.

The agreement also sets aside money from the fund to operate a DNA database to help link former patients who left semen with Barwin and children who do not know the identity of their biological father.

The plaintiffs’ legal team fees will also be deducted from the fund, pending court approval. MacLeod said he would review the details of the proposed legal fees for Tuesday.

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