A shocking class-action lawsuit resulting in at least 91 babies born using unauthorized sperm.


Before 2018, there were no fertility clinics in the Outaouais region. As a result, Western Quebec couples frequently visited Dr. Barwin in Ottawa for artificial insemination procedures. One evasive doctor who wished to remain unnamed said that they had sent patients to Barwin in the 1980s. This is due to the fact that they were only able to travel locally for treatments rather than to Montreal for artificial insemination.

With decades of experience in artificial insemination, the defendant, Dr. Barwin, has been accused of using his genetic material to inseminate several women instead of material from the correct father. 

The impacted family members made up the represented plaintiffs. Davina Dixon and her husband Daniel consulted Dr. Barwin for assistance with conception and what was believed to be Daniel’s semen was used to artificially inseminate Davina.  

Following the procedure, Rebecca was born. Rebecca’s genetic compatibility with Dr. Barwin and several other half-siblings who were conceived in the same way was discovered after it was established in 2016 that Daniel is not Rebecca’s original father. The class action was initiated by Rebecca Dixon, four years after DNA testing that revealed Barwin was her father.

Sixteen “Barwin babies” are now officially accounted for, the complaint claims, with nine of them living in Ontario, three in British Columbia, and four in Quebec. Two Québécois have just now learned the paternity story of two of these Barwin children.

Barwin, who had his medical license revoked by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario in 2019, adamantly denies the plaintiffs’ accusations. 


The Ontario Superior Court of Justice approved the proposed settlement for a sum of over $13 million. $75,000 was also set aside for creating and maintaining a DNA database connecting Barwin’s patients, sperm donors, and offspring. Through this resource, these offspring may finally solve their genetic puzzles, connect with their real fathers, learn about their medical histories, and locate long-lost half-siblings. As more people become eligible for class actions, the already delicate financial distributions for each claimant continue to be in flux.

Peter Cronyn, the legal representative for the impacted families, estimates that there were 500 artificially inseminated infants throughout the claim period between 1973 and 2012. These births have a connection to Dr. Barwin and potentially more people could be affected than the 226 applicants that have been documented. 

Read the full case here

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From CanLII