Hundreds of victims of a former Canadian fertility doctor, who allegedly used the wrong sperm and sometimes his own during artificial insemination of patients, will receive $ 10.7 million in a tentative deal reached this week, according to reports.
The class action lawsuit was brought in 2016 by Dan and Davina Dixon and later joined by more than 200 others who discovered through DNA testing that their child’s biological father was not who they thought they were, according to the ‘Ottawa Citizen.
Dr Norman Barwin, 82, is believed to have fathered at least 17 conceived children in his office, including the Dixons’ daughter, Rebecca.
Barwin denied the charges and admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement, according to the Washington Post.
He said he decided to settle because of the time and money spent on the trial, the newspaper reported.
The settlement has yet to be approved by a judge.
The Dixons sued Barwin after allegedly discovering that their daughter, conceived in 1990 while Davina Dixon was in Barwin’s care, was in fact Barwin’s child, according to the Post.
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Davina Dixon told CBC radio in 2016 that there were several “clues” about Rebecca’s paternity, including that she had celiac disease, which is often hereditary, and that she had brown eyes while both his parents were blue.
“When I first discovered it, I felt dissociated from my body and my face,” Rebecca told CBC in 2016. “When I looked at myself in the mirror, I suddenly felt like I was that it was no longer my face. I had always liked, or just thought mine seemed to belong to someone else, and I didn’t know who it was. ”
Rebecca called Wednesday’s settlement “a flawed solution.” I think it is questionable that money is the only thing offered and not a direct admission of responsibility on Barwin’s part ”.
“I’m not sure we’ll ever reach closure,” she said, according to the Citizen. “It’s something that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. But the legal conclusion will allow people to be a little more at peace with the situation. “
Lyon Palmer, the father of Kat Palmer – who is also believed to be Barwin’s biological daughter – said Barwin told her “he used his own sperm to test a sperm counter,” according to the CBC. ” It does not make sense. “
The case is the first of its kind, according to the Citizen.
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Peter Cronyn, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said on Wednesday that no amount of money could repair the “profound disruption of their sense of family and identity” caused by Barwin’s alleged actions, but “because of the fact that they receive compensation, it is our hope that will help them get a closure and move forward, ”the Citizen reported.
The regulations would also set up a DNA database to help victims identify their biological fathers, CBS News reported.