THE WALKING EGG (TWE)
The Walking Egg (TWE) is a non-profit organization founded in 2010 by four members: Annie Vereecken, Rudi Campo, Willem Ombelet and Koen Vanmechelen. Its central focus is fertility and reproduction, approached through the intersection of art and science, two ever-evolving disciplines. The Walking Egg collaborates with the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The symbol of this project is a transparent egg on chicken legs.
The TWE is more than a noble idea. It leaves the ivory tower of science and the laboratory of art. It wants to inject fertility in sterility; it advocates the universal right to reproduction in developing countries by 2020. It’s about every woman’s right to have an offspring. In 1997, the international meeting for ‘Andrology in the Nineties’, held in Genk, Belgium, attracted more than 700 clinicians and scientists from over 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, both shared a curiosity 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’ sculpture and was the start of years of debate and collaboration.
The artistic-scientific cross-fertilization was first documented in six issues of ‘The Walking Egg magazine’, a unique blend of science, art and philosophy and an international journal distributed to infertility specialists worldwide. In December 2007, a scientific-artistic project was set up in Arusha, Tanzania, in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, an environment where climatological and hygienic conditions are not the most favorable. The project brings focus to 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’.
In 2013, a scientific text was published and the Walking Egg Project was presented. W. Ombelet said: “In the Walking Egg Project we strive to raise awareness surrounding childlessness in resource-poor countries and to make infertility care in all its aspects, including assisted reproductive technologies, available and accessible for a much larger part of the world population.” The start-up of the first Walking Egg Fertility Centre in Ghana was launched in April 2015.