Global access to (in)fertility care
The Walking Egg believes that fertility care is a neglected aspect of family planning in many countries worldwide. Right from the start in 2010, we opted for a multidisciplinary and global approach to realise affordable and accessible infertility programmes.
In corporation with ESHRE (European Society of Human reproduction and Embryology) and WHO (World Health Organisation), we gather medical, social and economical scientists and experts along with artists to discuss and work together towards our goal.
We aim to strengthen fertility care through innovation and research, advocacy and networking, training and capacity building, and service delivery.
Research and innovation
There's a need for research on social, cultural, ethical, religious and juridical aspects of infertility in resourcepoor countries. What are pathways to healthcare and treatment access? What are the financial and economical consequences of infertility treatment compared to the actual situation? We also aim to initiate and expand an international network of social science research (in broad sense) in these fields.
In order to make fertility care more affordable in developing countries, effective, cheap and safe stimulation schemes for intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in-vitro fertilization (IVF) need to be established. A review of the literature and feasibility studies have to be performed to examine the value of these protocols in resource-poor settings. A major challenge is to reduce costs of laboratory procedures, namely fertilization and culture of eggs and embryos. Different options and approaches have been developed or are presently being field-tested with very promising results.
Advocacy and networking
Global access to fertility care can only be implemented and sustained if it is supported by local policy makers and the international community. Many international organizations have already expressed their desire to collaborate including WHO, ESHRE and ISMAAR (International Society for Mild Approaches to Assisted Reproduction). We will also need to the media, patient organizations and interested politicians to change the existing moral and socio-cultural beliefs that are isolating and ostracizing infertile couples.
Training and capacity building
Regular training courses on the diagnosis and prevention of infertility in developing countries have to be organized including endoscopic surgery, the clinical aspects of IUI and IVF and the laboratory aspects of IVF/ICSI. Training, quality control, regular audit and systems of accreditation and registration should be implemented in order to maintain appropriate standards of care.
The ultimate aim is to establish high-quality and affordable fertility services wherever needed. Diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and protocols should be affordable, effective, safe and standardized. Ideally, infertility management should be integrated into sexual and reproductive health care programmes.
What is The Walking Egg?
In March 2010, The Walking Egg non-profit organization was founded by four members: Annie Vereecken, Rudi Campo, Willem Ombelet and Koen Vanmechelen.
What is the history of The Walking Egg?
In 1993, the international meeting for ‘Andrology in the Nineties’, held in Genk, Belgium, attracted more than 700 clinicians and scientists from more than 40 different countries, all of whom specialized in infertility. It also resulted in the meeting of artist Koen Vanmechelen and fertility specialist Willem Ombelet. Although they came from two very different domains, these domains both developed from a sense of amazement and a desire to understand human identity. The contact between the scientist and the artist resulted in an enigmatic glass egg with the legs of a chicken: ‘The Walking Egg’. Three years later, in 2000, the first issue of ‘The Walking Egg’ magazine was published. It was a unique blend of science, art and philosophy, to name but a few of its perspectives. From the start, the concept sounded like a real program: to bridge the gap between science and art and alter traditional discourse between two disciplines believed to be in opposition with each other. The next two years were spent brainstorming, working, travelling, discussing, talking and exploring. The outcome of this artistic-scientific cross-fertilization was expressed in six issues of ‘The Walking Egg magazine, an international journal which was distributed to infertility specialists worldwide. On the occasion of the opening of the fully renovated fertility department of the Genk Institute for Fertility Technology in August 2006, the artistic project ‘Born’ was exhibited. A general concept focusing on the egg, it remains on permanent display in the fertility department. In December 2007, a scientific-artistic project was set up in Arusha, Tanzania, in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. It is an environment where climatological and hygienic conditions are not the most favorable. It represented the start of a focus on infertility and childlessness in developing countries, in cooperation with the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) Special Task Force on ‘Developing countries and infertility’.
What is the philosophy of The Walking Egg?
Creativity and beauty are the junctions where art and science meet. Early on, Koen Vanmechelen and Willem Ombelet recognized both disciplines have a complementary relationship. The study of the inner world is incomplete without that of the outer. In the future they aim to organize debates between scientists, politicians, artists, philosophers, etc. on topics associated with human reproduction, and more specifically, on the topic of childlessness in countries with limited resources.
Who is the Walking Egg?
杨·顾森斯是Medics Without Vacation 国际医疗援助NGO组织的执行前执行总监，在他的领导下先后有170多个欧洲医疗团队向非洲各国医疗机构提供援助。他同时担任多家欧洲公益组织的主席团成员。
威廉·欧姆贝雷 (医生，博士) 1954年出生于比利时鲁汶市。1984年，到南非研修不孕不育和体外受精。1987年，开始在比利时亨克圣扬医院妇产科工作。1998年，在比利时鲁汶大学获得博士学位，论文题为《精子形态及其他精液参数对于人类生育能力低下的诊断和治疗的影响》。1999年至今，担任比利时亨克ZOL担任大妇产科主任、教授、博士生导师。主管妇产科、儿科、新生儿科及整形外科。2001- 2004年，担任比利时妇产科协会主席。
威廉·欧姆贝雷讲授发表学术论文100余篇，主编和副主编的专著21部，为欧洲的妇产科医疗事业做出了杰出贡献，并获得两项国际大奖。他是亨克不孕不育研究所和TWE喜诞基金会的创始人，比利时"九十年代男科会议"的发起人和主席，比利时林堡大学、根特大学、安特卫普大学的（客座）教授。现任《Facts, Views & Vision in ObGyn》总编，欧洲人类生殖与胚胎学学会（ESHRE）发展中国家不育症学组执行主席，欧洲人类生殖与胚胎学学会男科学组执行主席。
英国伦敦圣乔治大学医学院生殖医学中心主任（St George’s University Hospital）
伦敦Create生殖中心总监（Create Health Clinics）
Jonathan Van Blerkom
美国科罗拉多大学（University of Colorado）分子、细胞与发育学教授。
辅助生殖和遗传学期刊副总编（Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics）
生殖生物医学在线期刊高级策划编辑（Reproductive BioMedicine Online）