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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Celiac Diagnosis Helps Prove Child Was Fathered by Fertility Doctor

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      A celiac disease diagnosis was part of a puzzle that led a couple and their child to the fertility doctor who had helped them to conceive.


    Caption: Fertility doctor secretly fathered patients' children. Photo: CBC

    Celiac.com 11/21/2016 - Even early on, strange inconsistencies caused Dan and Davina Dixon to wonder about her daughter, Rebecca. With dark hair and olive skin, Rebecca looked visibly different from her fair-complected parents. She looked different enough to wonder, as a child, if was adopted, if Dan and Davina were really her biological parents, as they assured her they were.

    Later, in her twenties, Rebecca developed celiac disease, which usually runs in families, even though no one else in their extended family suffered from it. Most of this was merely fodder for curiosity, until the day Davina saw a Facebook post that mentioned how rare it is for parents with blue eyes to have a child with brown eyes.

    Wondering about Rebecca's brown eyes, Davina went to the family doctor, who suggested a blood test. That's when the real mystery began: The blood test revealed that Rebecca's dad, Dan, was not, in fact, her biological father. There was absolutely no doubt. Dan's blood type was AB, while Rebecca's was O-Positive. That makes it impossible for Dan to be her father. A paternity test followed, and confirmed the blood results. There was simply no chance that Dan was Rebecca's biological father.

    Naturally, the Dixons began to search for answers. As reported by Kidspot, Rebecca was raised believing that Dan and Davina were her biological parents. The couple had tried for years to conceive a child. Unsuccessful, they turned to Dr. Norman Barwin, a gynecologist and fertility expert known by many as Canada's "baby god."

    The couple wondered whether there could have been some sort of mix-up in Barwin's office. Eventually, they noticed Rebecca bore a striking resemblance to Dr. Barwin, himself. Soon after that, as CTV News reported, a woman conceived at the same clinic learned that she was genetically related to Barwin. A DNA test confirmed that Rebecca and the woman were half-sisters, and their father was Dr. Barwin. Apparently, Barwin's role as a sperm donor to his own medical practice was kept secret from both sets of parents.

    The Dixon family is now suing Dr. Barwin for negligence and breach of trust. The lawsuit requests that Barwin turn over a DNA sample, to determine if any other children conceived at his clinic are his offspring, and to notify them accordingly.

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    Wow. The Dr. Barwin article was a real life genetic suspense article. Had me scrolling through the article at a rate of speed- Mr. Adams. I always enjoy your work. This was a true genetic suspense article, knowing the genetic inconsistencies suspecting the Dr. I the reader yelling oh no, no way at the screen, then the answer resolved as the reader me- suspected. An awful violation of ethics and humanity in medical/science field. Just terrible the patients should have been told and agreed to the terms prior to in vitro. The Dr. apparently knew his personal success rate but his ethics are abominable. Well Rebecca was meant to be, her relatives will grow (I am sure there are more as the lawsuit will force to be revealed). Perhaps Dr. Barwin will find another profession as his license to practice will be expiring soon. Maybe the family in the fortune of this bizarre misfortune will use the DNA to help the celiac community.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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