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15 Feb 2012
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Past Findings of the Discipline or Fitness To Practise Committee
Decision Date: 31 Jan 2013
On January 31, 2013, the Disciplined Committee found that Dr. Bernard Norman
Barwin committed an act of professional misconduct, in that he has failed to
maintain the standard of practice of the profession. Dr. Barwin admitted the
Dr. Barwin is a general practitioner with additional training in obstetrics and
gynaecology. He has practised in Ontario in artificial insemination, among
other areas of medicine since 1973.
Patient A became pregnant in 2004 as a result of artificial insemination
conducted by Dr. Barwin. Approximately three years later, Patient A found out,
through DNA testing, that her child was not the product of the donor sperm she
had instructed Dr. Barwin to use to inseminate her.
In or about late 2006/early 2007, Patient B went to Dr. Barwin with her sister,
Patient C, who had agreed to act as Patient B's surrogate. Dr. Barwin was to
artificially inseminate Patient C with the sperm of Patient B's husband.
Patient C discovered, through DNA testing in 2008, that her child was not the
biological child of Patient B's husband.
In or about 1985 and 1986, Patient D went to Dr. Barwin for the purpose of
being artificially inseminated with her husband's sperm. In approximately 2011,
Patient D discovered, through DNA testing, that her son was not her husband's
The errors in the inseminations of Patients A and C occurred after Dr. Barwin
had been notified by the College of an error he made in his insemination of
another patient, Patient E, in 1994. Patient E discovered, following the birth
of her child in June, 1995, that the child was not the product of the donor
sperm she had instructed Dr. Barwin to use to inseminate her. Dr. Barwin was
notified of this error by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and
states that he took some steps to endeavour to ensure that no such errors would
occur in his practice in the future.
Dr. Barwin and an expert review were unable to identify any evident errors in
the conduct of the artificial inseminations or in Dr. Barwin's office policies
and procedures regarding his artificial insemination practice. However, Dr.
Barwin accepts that errors in his practice, which would fall below the standard
of care, resulted in his failure to provide his patients with offspring from
their intended biological fathers. These concerns do not involve any other
areas of Dr. Barwin's medical practice.
The Discipline Committee ordered and directed that:
* the Registrar suspend Dr. Barwin's certificate of registration for a
period of two (2) months commencing immediately.
* Dr. Barwin attend before this panel to be reprimanded.
* Dr. Barwin pay costs to the College in the amount of $3,650.00 within
thirty (30) days of the date of this Order.
Decision: Download Full Decision (PDF)
Hearing Date(s): January 31, 2013
Member-reported Findings of Malpractice/Professional Negligence
Effective June 4, 2009, the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA) requires members to report to the College any finding of professional
negligence or malpractice made against them.
No findings reported since June 4, 2009.