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The following is a quick overview on Cryonics.
NB: The information below is periodically reviewed for accuracy, but LongeCity makes no representations or gives any warranties whatsoever that the following information is accurate and complete at any point in time. LongeCity accepts no responsibility or liability for information contained on this page. The discussion of cryonics service providers and services in no way entails any endorsement on part of LongeCity. The lead author of this page, its editors and other contributors from time to time may be affiliated with one of the service providers mentioned below. Without qualification to the foregoing disclaimers, LongeCity strives to present the following information in an objective an balanced manner. If you feel that information on this page is inacurate or imbalanced please contact the LongeCity Support Email.
Cryonics is based on the idea that future medicine will have capabilities well beyond those of current medicine, including the ability to cure all diseases, rejuvenate and repair damage incurred in the cryopreservation process — through the use of nanotechnology and other technologies. Cryonics can be an ambulance or time capsule to future medicine which can allow us to live many thousands of years or longer in youth and good health. Stored at very low temperatures there will be very little molecular motion in cryonics patients for tens of thousands of years, although most of us do not believe that we will have to wait anywhere near so long for future medicine.
Although cryonics patients must be legally dead before cryonics procedures to reduce or eliminate ischemic damage and ice formation can be applied, cryonicists do not believe that cryonics patients are dead in an ultimate sense. Nearly all the cells of the body are alive for quite some time after the heart stops — including neurons. A standby team can be used to minimize the time between pronouncement of death and cooling, cardiopulmonary support, etc. Cryonicists believe that the anatomical basis of mind can survive much longer than six minutes after stoppage of the heart in the absence of cooling — despite the inability of current medicine to revive patients without neurological damage after more than six minutes of cardiac arrest. (See Quantifying Ischemic Damage for Cryonics Rescue for more details.)
Existing Cryonics Organizations
For most of cryonics history (which began in the mid-1960s), all of the cryonics organizations offering cryonics services have been in the United States. In 2005 a cryonics organization was created in Russia (just northwest of Moscow) and there are plans for another cryonics organization in Australia to offer perfusion and storage of cryonics patients within a few years. LongeCity does not endorse any particular cryonics organization. The data below is taken from the cryonics organizations without LongeCity attempting to verify the accuracy of their claims or the extent of the services they claim to provide. If you are considering utilizing any of these organizations, you should conduct your own investigation.
Alcor Life Extension Foundation and the American Cryonics Society (ACS) are organized as 501©3 charitable organizations, whereas the Cryonics Institute (CI) is simply a non-profit corporation. Although Suspended Animation, Inc. (SA) is ostensibly a for-profit company, it is mainly engaged in research and development of cryonics capabilities financed by the principals of the Life Extension Foundation. By 2012 KrioRus had relocated to a facility closer to Moscow.
Cryonics Services Offered
Not all cryonics services are offered by all cryonics organizations. Patient administrationservice is offered by cryonics organizations that sign-up Members who are to be cryopreserved upon legal death and maintain responsibility for those Members while they are Patient's in cryopreservation storage. Perfusion is the replacement of normal body fluid with cryoprotective solutions to reduce or prevent ice formation at cryogenic temperatures. Storage is the storage of a cryonics patient in liquid nitrogen. Standby/Stabilization/Transport (SST) involves standing by the bedside of a medically terminal patient destined to be cryopreserved, the application of a heart-lung resuscitator and ice-water cooling as soon as possible after declaration of death,and transport to a perfusion facility while tissues are still being stabilized at low temperature.
The following table represents the services which cryonics organizations say they provide.
The American Cryonics Society (ACS) states that it mainly contracts with Suspended Animation,Inc. (SA) for perfusion and standby/transport, and contracts with the Cryonics Institute (CI)for storage. ACS also states that it has equipment, contractors and volunteers which are available for use in perfusion and standby in California should the need arise, although this is far less sophisticated and formal than what SA provides. ACS creates and manages individual charitable trusts for its patients. ACS regards these trusts as an important feature of the benefit gained by being an ACS Member.
Cryonics Institute (CI) Members who reside in the continental United States have the option of contracting directly with SA if they desire professional Standby/Transport.In some cases volunteers or paid funeral directors have provided these servicesto CI Members. SA will keep records of CI Members who have arranged to have SA Standby/Transport, but does not continue any administrative responsibility after the patient has been cryopreserved.
EUCrio states that it will provide Standby, Stabilization and Vitrification perfusion for Members of Alcor, CI or KrioRus living in Europe (European Union plus Norway), but is not affiliated with any of those cryonics organizations.
Trans Time is currently storing patients, but (despite what their website says) is not currently seeking new Members or Patients.
Sizes of the Organizations
There are various ways by which organization size could be measured, but for the purposes of this section size is represented by the number of Members in the organization, the number of patients currently being stored in liquid nitrogen and the numberof full-time paid staff in the organization. The figures below are for September 1, 2012, and are based on the statements of the organization in question.
Alcor has 9 paid staff and one volunteer. Seven of the paid staff are paid by Alcor, whereas two are paid independently. The American Cryonics Society (ACS) has an organizational policy against publishing the number of Members it has in its organization. As of the beginning of September, 2012 the 19 ACS patients were all in storage at the Cryonics Institute (CI). ACS has had one part-time clerk to do office work and has otherwise relied on volunteers. The 112 patients in storage at CI includes the 19 ACS patients. KrioRus has no Membership program, and the method of counting patients is odd — four are not stored by KrioRus. KrioRus had 11 pets in storage at the beginning of September, 2012. KrioRus has 4 full-time employees and numerous volunteers. As of September 1, 2012 Alcor reported 50 pets and CI reported 91 pets.
CI is a subcontractor for storage of the 19 ACS patients. CI has two paid staff (full-time and part-time), a few contractors and very many volunteers. Accounting is done by CI Treasurer Pat Heller (a CPA) with auditing by another CI Directors.Trans Time does not report its Membership numbers. Suspended Animation (SA) is a subcontractor which provides Standby/Transport only to other cryonics organizations (ACS, Alcor and CI), so it has no Members or Patients — or the reporting of Members or Patients for SA is "Not Applicable" (N/A). Both SA and EUCrio make extensive use of subcontractors when needed.
Alcor and CI member numbers are not directly comparable because the word "Member" has different meanings for the two organizations. Membership in CI provides the privilege of obtaining cryopreservation services: pet, DNA or human cryopreservation. Many join CI only to store DNA or pets or to support CI, including some Alcor Members. Some Alcor Members have even made arrangements to use CI as a "back-up". Alcor does not allow its Members to have Alcor as a "back-up". All Alcor Members have made arrangements (ie, funding and contracts in place) for human cryopreservation and standby/stabilization/transport. Of the 1033 CI Members at the beginning of September, 2012, 501 had made arrangements for human cryopreservation and 130 of those had made arrangements for both human cryopreservation and standby/stabilization/transport (all with SA). Since 2006, CI offers a 'partnership' arrangement for CI Members for SA standby/stabilization/transport.
As noted in the previous section, Trans Time is currently storing patients, but (despite what their website says) is not currently seeking new Members or Patients.
In 2011 and 2012 SA reorganized its staff to have more part-time employees and contractors, but has about 6 full-time and 2 part-time employees in additional to contractors.
Up-to-date accounts of patient histories and membership growth can be found at:
--Cryonics Institute (CI) Patient Details
--Cryonics Institute (CI) Statistics Details
--Complete List of Alcor Cryopreservations
--Alcor Membership Statistics
Whole Body/Neuro Options
The term neuropreservation (or "neuro") generally refers to the practice of cryopreserving only the head rather than the whole body. A "neuro" is usually, a whole head, not just the brain, but sometimes only the brain is cryopreserved. Keeping the whole head to preserve the brain is convenient for both perfusion and storage (the skull protects the brain). In some cases, however, "neuros"are brain-only. The following represent options various organizations say that they offer.
Alcor states that its Members have the option of having their whole body cryopreserved or only their head ("neuro") — with different fees applicable to each choice. At the beginning of September, 2012 Alcor said that it had 73 neuro and 39 whole body patients.
All CI Members with human cryopreservation arrangments are "whole body". ACS states that it does not have a policy against neuropreservation, but as long as it only uses CI as its subcontract or for storage it cannot offer neurocrypreservation as an option. KrioRus states that the 22 patients that it had in storage at the beginning of September, 2012 were 12 whole bodies and 10 neuros. Trans Time has one whole body and two brains. Suspended Animation (SA) is a subcontractor which provides Standby/Stabilization/Transport only to other cryonics organizations, not storage, so the question of storage options with SA is "Not Appliable" (N/A).
Cryopreservation and Yearly Fees
Comparing fees for human cryopreservation and yearly Membership or Emergency Responsibility is difficult to summarize in table form because the policies, procedures and optionsbetween the cryonics organization are so different. A great deal of explanation is required. Note that the high prices for human cryopreservation are generally covered by life insurance policies. The following represent the fees that the following organizations state that they charge.
To Alcor's yearly fee of $620 annual dues, those living in the United States and Canada must add $180 yearly standby fees for a total of $800 per year. A lifetime payment plan is also available. Standby service is not available to Alcor Members outside of the US and Canada, but a $15,000 surcharge is added to whole body and neuro prices in the United Kingdom, and a $25,000 surcharge is added to the prices paid by those living in other countries. For details on Alcor pricing, see Schedule A: Required Costs and Suspension Funding Minimums.
The prices given for the American Cryonics Society (ACS) are intended to reflect comparable service to what Alcor provides. In fact, ACS has a very wide menu of options and prices available, including reference to a "California Procedure" which is intended to be distinguished from the"Michigan Procedure" offered by the Cryonics Institute. The yearly fee for an ACS Member is $376 for the first four years and $300 peryear there after. For details on ACS options and fees, see:prices and funding.
The Cryonics Institute charges $28,000 for perfusion and storage of a Lifetime Member and $35,000 for a Yearly Member. These prices do not include funeral director costs or shipment to Michigan. (When CI was begun it was imagined that every state would haveat least one cryonics service provider.) The Lifetime CI Member has paid a one-time $1,250 fee and the Yearly CI Member has paid a $75 initiation fee and is paying a $120 yearly fee. Discounts for additional family members and underage family members apply only to Lifetime Memberships. For service more comparable to what Alcor provides — including Standby and Transport — a Lifetime Member pays $88,000 and a Yearly Member pays $95,000. For details on CI pricing see Membership andDetails Concerning SA Standby and Transport for CI Members.
For $49,000 KrioRus states that it offers Russians (Europeans?) the option of shipment and storage at the Cryonics Institute in the USA.
As noted in previous sections, Trans Time is currently storing patients, but (despite what their website says) is not currently seeking new Members or Patients.
Suspended Animation (SA) is a subcontractor which provides Standby/Transport only to other cryonics organizations, not Membership or storage, so the question of these options with SA is "Not Applicable" (N/A).
EUCrio states that it provides Standby/Stabilization and Vitrification/Transport services for European members of other cryonics organizations, without being affiliated with those organizations.
Human Cryopreservation Procedures
Human cryopreservation procedures are much too complex to be summarized effectively here.
Alcor's procedures are summarized on a page of the Alcor website called Alcor Procedures. But is it also very helpful to read actual case reports of Alcor patients in the Cryopreservation Case Reports section of the Alcor website library.
CI has a summary of its procedures on its website calledOutline of CI Preservation Procedures for Human Patients. But even more than in the case of Alcor, an understanding of the procedures is best gotten by reading case reports in the Case Reports section of the CI site contents page. The best reports to read are the first human vitrification case, which was done in August 2005 (The Cryonics Institute's 69th Patient) and a more recent one done in September 2007 (The Cryonics Institute's 84th Patient).
CI procedures do not include Standby and Transport, though CI will advise Members on obtaining assistance through local funeral directors.CI Members residing in the continental United States who wish to obtain Standby and Transport can do so by subcontracting with Suspended Animation, Inc. (SA) as outlined at Suspended Animation Standby for CI Members and described in more detail at General Comments about Suspended Animation Procedures. An outdated summary of SA capabilities and procedures is available at Protocol for SA-CI Standby-Transport. A report of a case done by SA in 2004gives some idea, although an outdated one, of what the SA protocol means in practice.This report is available on the SA website as a Word Document SA Case Report.
Although the American Cryonics Society (ACS) has equipment and volunteers which could be used if necessary, ACS basically relies on SA for Standby/Transport and CI for Perfusion/Storage.The human cryopreservation procedures of Trans Time and KrioRus are not documented on their websites.
Funding Cryonics by Insurance
The cost of cryonics is many thousands of dollars, but most cryonicists cover these costs with life insurance policies that name a cryonics organization as beneficiary. Premiums of life insurance policies are most affordable for those who are young and healthy. It is not prudent to seek life insurance in old age or after a terminal illness (when life insurance may be unobtainable). Nor is it prudent to believe that cryonics arrangements can be made efficiently or successfully when in a terminal condition.
Rudi Hoffman sells the great majority of cryonics life insurance policies. It makes good sense to take advantage of Rudi's considerable expertise in matters of cryonics and life insurance. (A sincere and unpaid plug for Rudi.)