[ Question ]

Cryonics before natural death. List of companies?

byHafurelus 2mo12th Jun 20198 comments


I really don't want to wait those who are dear to me or myself to get Alzheimer's and only then, after our natural death, to be cryopreserved.

I want to choose the moment when I'm preserved. However, it seems like it is not allowed by Alcor, Cryonics institute, and many other companies due to legislation. I cannot even kill myself and be preserved right afterwards.

Serge Fague wrote something along the lines "I'd rather preserve myself right after I'm diagnosed with this", so I think there are companies (and countries) that can preserve you if you ask them.

My question is - do such companies exist, and if yes, can you name them?

New Answer
Ask Related Question
New Comment

2 Answers

Aside from the case where you may have access to euthanasia, the answer is no. The issue is that cryonics, where it is legally allowed, is considered a mortuary procedure rather than a medical procedure. The reasons for doing this are a bit involved, but can be summed up by saying it was easier to get legal approval for a novel procedure on dead bodies than on live ones.

In theory it seems likely you could get a better preservation by anesthetizing a live patient, replacing their blood, and slowing cooling the body and letting them die slowly while freezing rather than dying first and then starting the cooling process, but this is extremely legally complicated because it both involves a live patient, so it's a medical procedure, and it kills the patient, so it's euthanasia (or so we hope; if it wasn't painless you definitely wouldn't be allowed to do it!). This would require a level of acceptance of cryonics we have no reason to believe is forthcoming.

So we are left with the case where you have to die first before being cryo-preserved. However, it's even a bit more complicated than that, because how you die matters. Mortuary procedures can't begin until a patient has a completed death certificate from a doctor in most places, and in some cases you can't formally complete that process without an autopsy to determine cause of death, especially in cases that look suspicious like a murder or suicide. In fact, without modern assisted suicide laws, suicide generally requires an autopsy by law, which will of course ruin your chance of preservation.

The only known, reliable way of doing what you propose (and I know of cases in there past where it successfully happened), is that a patient with a terminal illness entered a hospice near a cryonics facility with a cryonics team on standby and then refused all food and water. It takes several days to die this way depending on body composition, and at time of death the doctor on staff can quickly mark that you died of natural causes (I don't entirely understand why this doesn't count as suicide, but it apparently doesn't) and the procedure can begin within minutes. That, to the best of my knowledge, is the state-of-the-art in cryonic preservation: cryocide by starvation/dehydration.