A multi-million dollar proposed settlement agreement has been reached in a Canadian class action suit brought by hundreds of former patients and children of a fertility doctor who used his own or unknown sperm to inseminate his clients, multiple outlets, including the Ottawa Citizen newspaper, reported.
The class action lawsuit, which the Ottawa Citizen reports is the first of its kind, involves 226 people, 100 of which were children conceived when their parents went to the now 82-year-old Dr. Norman Barwin — who had been widely referred to as the "baby whisperer" — for help with fertility.
The newspaper reported that 17 of the children are Barwin's biological offspring, while dozens of others do not know who their biological fathers are.
Part of the settlement, which has not yet been approved by a judge, would establish a genetic database to help the children identify their biological parents. Barwin would also have to pay everyone involved in the suit a total of the Canadian equivalent of $10.7 million, the newspaper reported.
"I am not sure we will ever achieve closure," Rebecca Dixon, one of the 17 children conceived using Barwin's sperm, told the Ottawa Citizen. She discovered Barwin was her biological father after a doctor suggested her mother test her DNA to determine how she could have brown eyes when both her parents had blue — something that is very rare, the Washington Post reported.
"It is something that will be with us for the rest of our lives. But the legal side wrapping up will allow people to come to a bit more peace with the situation," Dixon told the Ottawa Star.
"My world has been turned upside down," Dan Dixon, Rebecca's father, told the Washington Post. "Rebecca is our child, but she's not our child. She is, but she's not. And that's why everything is different."
Barwin, who has not admitted guilt, was stripped of his medical license in 2019 by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, who called his actions "beyond reprehensible."