Cryogenics Companies Are Selling The Chance To Cheat Death For The Price Of A New Car

A body preparation room at the Cryonics Institute facility in Michigan. Photo credit: Cryonics Institute

Aliyah Kovner 14 Aug 2018, 00:08

People seek out wealth so that they can afford the finer things in life, and now, for the modest price of about $30,000, the rich may also be able to buy a second life.

As reported by Brinkwire, more and more people are making plans to have their bodies cryopreserved after death with the hopes of being revived in the future, when scientists have perfected the technique for reanimating frozen organic tissue and have cured the inconvenient conditions, like old age or cancer, that killed them in the first place.

Involving significantly more steps than just dumping someone in an extra-cold freezer, the current cryonic techniques begin by immediately cooling the body in question to just above the freezing point of water once the heart has stopped beating. Then, blood and air circulation are restored using various pumping devices, and a mix of chemicals and medications are infused into the veins and arteries.

Though the exact ingredients vary among different cryonics companies, these preservative cocktails may include free radical inhibitors, anticoagulants, nitric oxide synthase inhibitors, pH buffers, and other substances that help prevent tissue and DNA decay and maintain blood pressure.

Once the body has been stabilized, the most crucial compound – the vitrification agent – is perfused through the body, replacing the blood and other fluids. Because water molecules expand during crystallization, the freezing process will destroy animal tissue as the cells are ruptured from the inside out. Vitrification agents prevent this outcome by blocking the water molecules in cells from forming hydrogen bonds during freezing, leading to a solid state with no (or very few) damaging ice crystals, according to the Arizona-based cryonics “membership” company Alcor (whose minimum charge for whole-body preservation and storage is $200,000).

The deep freeze storage tanks at the Cryonics Institute in Michigan. Photo credit: Cryonics Institute

Then, once a tissue concentration of about 60 to 70 percent vitrification chemicals has been achieved, the body is cooled to around -125℃ (-197°F). Over the course of several days to weeks, the body is cooled to the final target temperature of -196℃ (-321°F), where it will remain indefinitely.

As of now, no mammals have been successfully revived from a cryopreserved state, meaning that the science behind this expensive process – advertised as a way to cheat death – remains unproven.

The other leading cryopreservation offeror, the Cryonics Institute, concedes that there is no guarantee their procedures will result in extended life.

“No one can predict scientific progress with certainty. We believe that a very strong case can be made for the probable success of cryonics. But that doesn't mean that social disruptions aren't possible. Nuclear war, economic collapse, political strife and terrorism, are all possible, and they could end the lives of cryopreserved patients just as easily as they can end the lives of any of us,” they wrote on their website.

“One thing we can guarantee is that if you don't sign up for cryonics is that you will have no chance at all of being revived in the future.”

The Cryonics Institute – whose full-body cryopreservation package starts at a competitive $28,000 – claims to have successfully cryopreserved 151 patients since their founding in 1976, and that all of these bodies are in perfect cryostasis to this day. They also state that more than 1,200 currently living individuals have signed up for their services. Alcor is said to have 150 already frozen members and about 1,126 who plan on being frozen.

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