Disgraced fertility doctor's clinic broke federal rules as far back as 1999, inspection reports reveal
2020-01-06 from cbc.ca
Federal inspections of the clinic run by the now-disgraced fertility doctor Norman Barwin found "troubling" problems with the clinic dating back to 1999, raising concerns about whether the oversight system is failing to protect Canadian patients.
Barwin's medical licence was revoked in June by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, after determining he had used his own sperm or the wrong sperm in helping families conceive more than 70 children at his clinic since he began offering fertility services in the 1970s.
Health Canada is responsible for inspecting the safety of donor eggs and sperm.
Health Canada inspection records obtained through an Access to Information request suggest Barwin's clinic repeatedly violated federal regulations including the mishandling of donor sperm, missing sperm, missing proof of safety checks, mislabelling and missing patient consent forms.
In the first inspection in 1999, all of the donated sperm stored at the clinic — foreign and domestic — had to be quarantined because the clinic could provide none of the necessary paperwork required by the law, including whether the sperm had passed safety assessments for diseases like HIV and chlamydia.
"You must immediately quarantine all non-compliant semen currently in stock and cease distribution," said the letter to Barwin following the inspection on June 25, 1999.
No follow-up document was shared with CBC on whether he complied with the order, and the incident was not mentioned in the following inspection in 2001.
In 2002, an inspection in July found similar problems in the handling of donor sperm.
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