Another disturbing fertility doctor story is in the news: A lawsuit alleges Dr. Norman Barwin, who ran a fertility clinic in Canada, secretly used his own sperm to father at least 11 of his clients' children. "We are now aware of 11 individuals whose parents went to Dr. Barwin for assistance with fertility, and DNA investigation discloses that he is their biological father," says the law firm that filed the suit. The cases date from the 1970s to the early 2000s, CNN reports; Barwin, who no longer practices, was once well-respected and known as "the Baby God," per CTV News. The suit began in 2016, when Rebecca Dixon learned through DNA testing that the man she thought was her biological father actually was not. Her parents had gone to Barwin's clinic for help conceiving in 1989, and when her family started researching the doctor, "They could not help but notice that Rebecca bore an uncanny physical resemblance to Dr. Barwin," per the lawsuit.
Dixon connected with another woman whose story was similar; the suit alleges that Barwin actually admitted to that woman he was her biological father. The two women then discovered through DNA testing that their fathers were one and the same. Others later joined the suit, which also alleges 16 children of Barwin's clients were not biological matches to the men believed to be their fathers and another 35 children may not have been conceived using the anonymous donor sperm their mothers chose. In those cases, the fathers are not known. "When people have discovered that their children are not as what was intended, it's a very distressing discovery," one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs says. Though Dixon, who was raised as an only child, does see a "bright side of what's a really difficult and emotional situation," she tells the CBC: "I now have 10 siblings. ... I definitely now see the siblings I have as relationships I'll have for the rest of my life." (Similar stories here, here, here, and here.)