The cryonics frequently asked questions page is for people who are new to cryonics and want to get overview of what this is. I’ll update this page in the future with more answers as questions become available. Feel free to post any questions you have in a comment below and I’ll make updates from those as well. Thanks!
What is Cryonics?
Cryonics or “cryopreservation” is the post-mortem storage of deanimated patients (“the dead”) at liquid nitrogen temperatures with the intent to bring them back to life in the future if or when science, technology and medicine make revival possible. The idea is not to revive patients into their pre-death state, but to restore them into a healthy, youthful rejuvenated body.
Isn’t Cryonics Science Fiction?
No. Cryopreservation is a real process performed by real professionals working at real organizations. There is no guarantee that patients will be revived in the future; however, the process of cryopreservation is available to the general public right now. For example, Cryonics Institute in Clinton Township, Michigan is one of the biggest cryonics providers in the world.
Can Cryonics Be Performed On Living People?
No. Under current laws that would be murder. However, there are cryonicists who would like this to change because it would give terminal patients a better chance at successful cryopreservation. According to Cryonics Institute’s FAQ page, it isn’t critical that a patient by cryopreserved pre-mortem since most of a patient’s tissues are still alive upon legal death.
Has Anyone Been Successfully Revived?
Technically people are already revived, just not by cryonics. But people “die” all the time and are successfully revived by procedures like Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). That said, Cryonics Institute says that a variety of biological specimens including insects and even human tissue have been successfully cryopreserved and revived.
When Will Patients Be Revived?
That depends on a lot of factors. If you were cryopreserved today and tomorrow the technology made revival feasibly possible, then you might have a pretty short waiting period. Otherwise it could take longer. The key is how fast technology, science and medicine advance. On a bright note, technology appears to improve year over year and each new improvement allows us to create better technology faster.
Who Will Revive Those Patients?
Based on cryonics agreements it will be the individual’s cryonics provider that revives the patient. However, it is possible that other cryonicists or future civilizations may wish to revive cryonicists just like civilization today would likely revive mummies in tombs or cavemen if it were possible.
How Many People Are Currently Cryopreserved?
It is hard to know the exact number because I’m not familiar with every organization’s operations. That said, Cryonics Institute had preserved 182 patients, 178 pets, and 297 DNA/Tissue samples as of November, 2019. Alcor’s membership stats page says it has 176 patients cryopreserved.
Why Haven’t More People Signed Up for Cryonics?
People come up with many reasons. In general there is a lot of skepticism about the process and misinformation that circulates around the internet. Add to it that cryonics is a non-traditional service and many people would rather die forever than do something that might give them a chance to continue to exist.
What’s interesting is that cryonicists tend to be intelligent, highly educated and often independent thinkers. For example, I’m about to finish a Master’s in Psychology with a 4.0 GPA and I run a successful online business (not to toot my own horn or anything 😉 ). But you do not have to be wealthy to afford cryopreservation. Most people pay for it with affordable life insurance, which we’ll talk about below.
How Can I Pay for Cryonics?
Depending on your cryonics provider there are several options available. Most people pay for cryonics with a life insurance policy for equivalent cost of buying a few Starbucks frappes per month. To give you an example, my original life insurance policy covered me for $120,000 and I paid around $35/mo for it.
Your cryonics provider may also allow you to pay-in-full up front, make payments, or may accept other arrangements based on your assets. To get the most accurate information, please contact your preferred cryonics provider.
How Much Does Cryonics Cost?
The cost of cryopreservation depends on several factors. First, different organizations have different prices and different membership structures. At Cryonics Institute you will need to secure Annual ($120/yr) or Lifetime ($1,250 once) membership. Then you must fund a minimum of $35,000 (for annual members) or $28,000 (for lifetime members) for cryopreservation. If you opt-in for other services such as Suspended Animation (Standby and Transport upon death) then you can expect to add an additional $60,000 in costs. If you add Private Air Ambulance (for fastest transport upon death) then that adds another $12,000 to $41,000. The absolute minimum you would spend with Cryonics Institute is $29,250.00 (but again, most people would not pay this out of pocket but through life insurance).
What Kind of Life Insurance Do I Need?
To get the most personalized answer you should work with a life insurance agent to build a plan that makes sense for you. That said, you can read my thoughts on the different kinds of life insurance and how my coverage is structured in a post I wrote recently called How to Pay for Cryonics with Life Insurance.
What if I Can’t Get Life Insurance?
If you can’t get life insurance then you still have a number of options depending on your current living state. For instance, if you are young and unlikely to perish for a while, then you might consider starting an online business, crowdfunding, or just plain setting aside some extra cash from your paycheck each month to build up to the minimums over time. If you’re bold you might ask friends or family to help fund you. There are a lot of ways to come up with money these days. I’ll explore these in more detail on the blog soon!
Does Cryonics Offer Any Guarantees?
The only guarantee cryonics offers is a chance to come back to life at some point in the future. There is no guarantee the process will be successful. There is no guarantee you will survive. But considering your alternatives (decaying underground, burning to a crisp, or being shot into deep space) it’s probably the smartest choice.
Lex DeVille is a psychology grad student survivalist transhumanist cryonicist immortalist who believes that everyone has the right to live as long as they want to no matter how long that may be.