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How do companies provide people with the last chance to prolong life with the help of cryogenic freezing

The process of preserving human bodies with the prospect of their subsequent revival is called cryonics. There are only four large companies in the world involved in this business. 

These are the American Institute of Cryonics with 240 customers, the American Alcor with 208 bodies and 1600 potential storage units, the Russian KrioRus with 92 clients, and the Chinese Yinfeng with about a dozen cadavers.

In the warehouse of the company "KrioRus"
In the warehouse of the “KrioRus” company.

The very first person to undergo cryopreservation is James Bedford. He died in 1967, and for the last 56 years his body has been kept in a container of liquid nitrogen, which has been passed from hand to hand several times, and finally ended up in Alcor in the 90s.

Unfortunately for James, successful “canning” of the body is not limited to deep freezing, so he is unlikely to resurrect to appreciate all the charms of a warming climate. However, people who got into cryocontainers not so long ago can hope for something similar. The mentioned companies seem to have figured out the safe technology for freezing human bodies.

What is the freezing process

One of the conditions is the start of the process a few seconds after the client has stopped showing signs of life. Here it would be appropriate to consider how things are going at the market leader, Alcor, especially since its public relations department maintains a fascinating blog about the company’s work.

Alcor storage
Alcor storage

Freezing and storage companies have to be very careful with the law initially, as freezing a living person is considered murder in most countries and should probably be prosecuted. The procedure cannot begin until the client is officially declared dead, but the problem is that the brain and other vital organs quickly lose their “consumer qualities” after death.

To respond within seconds, Alcor uses cryogenics. Their permanent locations are Florida and California, but on a temporary basis they may be located in locations with a high concentration of undead clients.

As soon as one of those who ordered the service is in critical condition, a team of 4 doctors is sent to him. These specialists patiently wait until the client ceases to show signs of life, after which they immerse his body in an ice bath and treat with a variety of chemicals.

The body is then transported to an operations lab in Scottsdale, Arizona, either by an Alcor cargo van or by a commercial airline. At this stage, the body cools down, but not too dramatically, since at minus 35 degrees Celsius, ice crystals of ice form in the blood and organs, which is considered completely unacceptable.

The process of replacing blood with a cryoprotectant.  In the photo: demonstration mannequin
The process of replacing blood with a cryoprotectant. In the photo: demonstration mannequin

In the lab, the client’s blood is pumped out and a drug called “M22” takes its place. This is something like antifreeze, which allows you to carry out the so-called “vitrification”, that is, in fact, to freeze the body without the formation of a large amount of ice. The body is then cooled to -196 degrees Celsius and placed in a tank of liquid nitrogen.

What’s next?

It’s completely unclear. The idea of ​​the business is to revive the deceased, but so far this is not possible for obvious reasons. What is needed here is a technology that will not only unfreeze the client without damaging his vital organs, but also somehow reverse what caused the person to die. But this snag does not bother business owners at all. They make money as if nothing had happened, and very good money.

The process of preserving human bodies with the prospect of their subsequent revival is called cryonics.  There are only four large companies in the world engaged in this business.-4

Alcor and Yinfeng charge about $200,000 for a whole body freeze and $80,000 for a head. The services of the Cryonics Institute are much cheaper: $28,000 for the whole body. KrioRus – $36,000 for the whole body and from $15,000 only for the brain.

Alcor’s high cost is partly due to the $115,000 of the proceeds being invested at interest in a special fund managed by financial conglomerate Morgan Stanley.

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It is assumed that the stock market will not collapse and will grow at a rate that will allow maintaining the client’s supply of liquid nitrogen for tens, and if necessary, hundreds of years. In order to prevent the investment council from wasting money, Alcor obliges its members to sign a contract under which they agree to freeze dead close relatives.

What happens if companies fail to resurrect or otherwise revive their customers?

The process of preserving human bodies with the prospect of their subsequent revival is called cryonics.  There are only four large companies in the world engaged in this business.-5

Advertising on the Alcor website seems to say that the contract obliges to provide this service, but if you look closely at the text of the document, you can find a very interesting paragraph there. It says here that the company’s specialists do not yet have a clue how this can be done, and whether it is legal. 

But anyway, if the client is not revived, he will not be able to make a claim to the service provider. No matter how absurd it may sound.


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