What is cryonics?

Find out here. Another excellent place to start is the chapter on cryonics from Eric Drexler’s The Engines of Creation, available in full online.

What other organisations are offering cryonic suspensions?

The significant cryonics organisations wordwide are Alcor (US), The Cryonics Institute (US), KrioRus (Russia), and Oregon Cryonics (US).

Don’t ice crystals form during freezing and damage all the cells?

Modern methods of cryonic suspension involve using protective solutions that prevent the formation of ice crystals and result in vitrification, of the tissues. This has been shown to preserve cell and tissue structure very well. Even in older methods, ice crystals don’t generally puncture cells as they form, they dehydrate the cells and make them shrivel up. This damage should also be eventually repairable.

How much does it cost to be preserved?

The authoritative sources for current cost structures are the Alcor membership page and the Cryonics Institute membership page.

Currently, Alcor charges US$200,000 and CI charges US$35,000 for whole-body suspension. Alcor also offers head-only suspension (called a neurocryopreservation) for US$80,000. For Australians and others living outside the US, additional funds must be set aside to pay for preparation and transport of the patient to the US after the pronouncement of legal death. This costs on the order of $30,000 to $50,000 Australian.

Southern Cryonics plans to offer whole-body suspensions for approximately $150,000 Australian.   This includes the process of bringing the patient to liquid nitrogen temperatures and long term storage.

Isn’t that expensive?

It’s a significant amount of money, yes, but you are buying an experimental lifesaving treatment, not an expensive funeral. The bulk of the funds are put in trust to provide interest to pay for ongoing storage costs such as liquid nitrogen. Please also remember that most cryonics suspensions are funded from life insurance which at about age 40 costs about $500 a year.

It sounds like a scam. Who’s getting rich?

The majority of people working in cryonics organisations around the world are volunteers, and certainly nobody is getting rich. The initial investors in Southern Cryonics are not expecting any financial return – we are “building our own lifeboat” and funding our own suspensions.

I’d prefer to leave my money to my children.

If cryonics had no chance of working, so would we. But if you think about a cryonic suspension as a lifesaving treatment, consider whether your children would prefer you to save your own life or die and leave them some extra money. Most cryonicists try to persuade their parents to sign up for cryonic suspensions, because very few people want to see their parents die if there’s any other choice.

I have more questions.

For a more extensive cryonics FAQ by former Cryonics Institute president Ben Best, go here, or feel free to contact us.