The project

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.

Service delivery

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?

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Jan Goossens
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。

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Koen Vanmechelen
柯恩·范麦赫伦先生,1965年生于比利时,是比利时著名的艺术家。多年来,他致力于艺术与科学的关系的研究和创作。他与 威廉·欧姆贝雷教授一起合作创立的喜诞TWE基金会。

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Willem Ombelet
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。

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Geeta Nargund
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)
国际温和辅助生殖技术科研学会主席 (www.ismaar.org)
伦敦南区中小学教育地方长官

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Rudi Campo
鲁迪·坎普医生是欧洲妇科内镜学会的现任主席,是欧洲生殖与胚胎学学会“发展中国家辅助生殖技术”特别行动组和生殖外科小组成员。同时,他也是欧洲妇产科学院委员会的培训及评估常务委员。这些工作职务使他得以与欧洲生殖医学界进行广泛的合作。

除了在辅助生殖领域的研究,他还专注于对内窥镜手术技术及相关培训教育工作的探索。为此,他一手创建了欧洲妇科手术学院(EAGS), 致力于加强欧洲妇科内镜手术医师间的临床经验和科研思想的交流,并以此建立一个内视镜领域的科研和标准化组织。

鲁迪·坎普医生身为一名腹腔镜专家和国际公认的子宫修复术及子宫肌层宫腔镜手术检查方面的专家,可以就内视镜技术进行全领域的合作。作为欧洲妇科手术学院(EAGS)主管及欧洲妇产科学院委员会仿真协会主席,鲁迪·坎普医生对世界各地内镜技术的培训和教育工作作出了卓越贡献。

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Nathalie Dhont
娜塔莉·丹特(医生、博士)
比利时亨克ZOL医院妇产科医生

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Ivo Marechal
艾维·马赫尚先生1964年出生于比利时。历任比利时稀有金属、物流业跨国企业生产主管、首席执行官等职。后创立比利时D2E风险投资公司,为喜诞TWE项目的投资人及董事会成员之一。

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Annie Vereecken
安妮·范瑞肯女士是比利时著名的临床病理学家和企业家。她于1977年创建了自己的临床实验室,致力于妇科内分泌学和病理学的研究。2001年,她再次创建了比利时艾格敏医学实验室,该实验室于2010年被索尼克医疗集团并购(Sonic Healthcare,全球第2大医疗诊断服务公司)。

近年来,安妮·范瑞肯女士致力于唐氏综合症的产前诊断、无创性产前检测(NIPT)、宫颈癌筛查技术等课题的研究,发表了多篇有影响的学术论文,并负责指导多名博士后研究生的研究工作。其中致癌人体乳头瘤病毒的检测技术,将被作为比利时医学界宫颈癌筛查的首选方法。

安妮·范瑞肯女士与比利时著名妇产科学家威廉·欧姆贝雷医生(Willem Ombelet)等合作筹建了比利时喜诞(TWE)辅助生殖项目,致力于推广新一代的人工体外受精辅助生殖技术。

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Jonathan Van Blerkom
美国科罗拉多大学(University of Colorado)分子、细胞与发育学教授。
美国科罗拉多生殖分泌研究所辅助生殖实验室主任。
受精卵期刊北美总编(ZYGOTE)
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)