As the fastest-growing cryonics company in Europe, Tomorrow Bio regularly receives questions about what, how, and why we do what we do. This article will delve into the science behind how human cryopreservation works, what happens when legal death is pronounced, and why members sign up for cryonics.
Cryopreservation is the process of preserving cells, tissues, and other biological materials by lowering core temperatures to sub-freezing levels (currently at -196°C) with ice formation as possible. If this procedure is done on a human, a team of medical experts called an SST (standby, stabilization, and transport) team preserves the whole body or just the head. Lowering the temperature reduces the metabolic rate to a point where all biological processes are paused. Cryoprotective agents (CPAs) are used as medical-grade antifreeze to replace blood to help avoid freezing. Once a body reaches about -130°C, it passes the so-called “glass-transition temperature” and becomes vitrified, at this point the body is completely “paused”. When a patient reaches the temperature of liquid nitrogen (-196°C) they are placed in a cryogenic dewar for indefinite storage. Cryopreservation isn’t just used for humans (also known as cryonics), the procedure is also commonly applied for preserving cells, tissues, sperms, eggs, and more.
Now, if you were to be cryogenically frozen with Tomorrow Bio, what exactly would happen to you?
Once a Tomorrow member has been pronounced legally dead, one of our specialized standby teams can officially begin the cryoprotection procedure. Ideally, the team is on-site before legal death is pronounced so that the process can begin as soon as possible after cardiac arrest.
First, the member is stabilized by externally cooling their core temperature with a mixture of ice and water. This way, their metabolic activity decreases and with it the risk of ischemic damage. A mechanical chest-compression device is used to pump the oxygenated blood and internally cool down the body. The standby team administers the necessary medication and, once ready, surgically accesses the chest cavity by median sternotomy. Once the heart and the surrounding structures are accessible, our team can begin cannulation on the aorta and vena cava, and attach the perfusion system. The blood is then pumped out of the body and substituted with cryoprotective agents. The process continues until the right concentration for vitrification is reached so that ice formation is avoided as much as possible.
Once the team has completed the procedure, the body is ready to be transported on dry ice to a biostasis provider. Here, the patient remains stored in cryogenic storage dewars until the technology has advanced enough for them to be revived.
At Tomorrow Bio we regularly receive questions about all aspects of cryonics, but one of the most common questions we get is “why would anyone want to do this?” There are many answers to this question, here are some of the most common ones:
We believe, for the most part, that society is curious. Many cryonics members sign up simply to see what the future holds, and wish to experience it in the best health possible.
With great advancements that have happened so far, it’s exciting to think of what lies ahead in the distant future. Space travel, AI, robotics, and human consciousness are all fascinating concepts that will only become more evolved as time passes.
In a series called The World in the Future by Future Business Tech, tech enthusiasts give their two cents on what inventions they envision from the years 2030 to a million years time! One blog, in particular, predicts that by the year 2100 humans will be able to merge with artificial superintelligence, The ‘Hive Mind’ and telepathy will be mainstream, and knowledge can be downloaded to people’s brains!
A person’s time on earth is a mere blip on the timeline of the universe. Most of us have a bucket list that we hope to tick off one experience at a time, and although people are living to their 80s nowadays, there are so many experiences that people miss. A chance of revival allows the opportunity to explore what you may not have been lucky enough to experience the first time around. With cryonics, you have a second chance to travel the world, take up a new hobby, live abroad, change careers, or whatever it is you wished you had time to do previously.
It’s not just the average person that hopes to live a life without restraints - over the years more and more celebrities have voiced their interest in being cryopreserved. Household names that are keen on the procedure include Family Guy’s Seth McFarlane, hotel heiress Paris Hilton, and renowned DJ Steve Aoki, to name just a few.
“All of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking,” - Albert Einstein.
Nowadays we benefit from some wonderful scientific discoveries. While researchers continue to understand more about biology and technology, it’s become evident that diseases and aging are not just life’s inevitabilities, but challenges that science could overcome. As science continues to advance, researchers are discovering more about aging. For those who wish to live longer than is possible today, cryopreservation may be the only hope..
An important aspect of cryonics at Tomorrow Bio is that we strive to leave no one behind. The sad reality is that people die everyday from malignant diseases and accidents that will probably be curable with future medical technologies. Right now, cryopreservation is the only potential alternative to certain death. It’s an option that can give a member some kind of peace of mind and a chance(!) for life extension. Furthermore, as cryopreserving technology becomes mainstream over the years, the cost will likely decrease, making this service more accessible to those who want it. We believe everyone deserves the equal opportunity to decide how long they want to live and, possibly, visit the future.
Something we actively promote at Tomorrow Bio is thinking long-term. While the idea of technological advancements is very exciting, some of its side effects have caused us to become obsessed with instant gratification. Phones, social media platforms, and tools like online shopping, have caused us to think more short-term, rather than considering the long-term effects.
Another aspect of thinking long-term is investing in your future today. While it may seem easy to put off signing up for cryopreservation right now—something we call cryocrastination— it could be the difference between living in the future or being left behind.
Becoming a member with Tomorrow Bio is simple, and our recent article details a step-by-step guide on how to sign up.
A common concern about cryonics is how much it costs. People assume that members are required to pay €200,000 up front, however, this is not typically the case. Our members are charged a monthly payment, which includes a membership fee, research support (if selected), and the price of the term life insurance based on their age and clinical history (if they choose to use our insurance partner for their insurance coverage). The cost of our all-inclusive plans starts at just €40 per month. If you pass away within the term the insurance provides €200,000 coverage which pays for everything incl. transportation, full-body cryopreservation, indefinite long-term storage, and possible future revival.
Another concern about cryonics is that it’s something you should sign up for later in life. There are many good reasons to sign up now rather than later in life, including peace of mind if an accident happens. What’s more, in the insurance industry, the healthier you are, the cheaper your term life insurance, so waiting until ‘the time is right’ isn’t necessarily going to save you money in the long run.
So you’re interested in cryonics, and understand how it works, but you’re just not ready to sign up—don’t worry, we have something for you, too!
Tomorrow Bio offers a Fellow program for those who wish to support the scientific advancement of biostasis, but perhaps can’t pay a full membership fee right now, or need some time to mull it over.
Through the Fellow program, you are still supporting Tomorrow Bio and EBF’s R&D and saving up for your own cryopreservation simultaneously. Once you become a full member, everything you have paid thus far plus a 20% bonus will be deducted from your membership fees.
The purpose of cryonics is not to grant immortality to its members, but rather to give a chance to extend a person’s life so that they can benefit from medical advancements, and see the future and all it entails.
We believe the benefits of cryonics and the possibilities it holds certainly outweigh the many challenges the cryonics industry will have to face over time, before achieving a successful revival. What do you think?
Avoid being a cryocrastinator and sign up for cryonics on Tomorrow Bio today. Or, if you have come this far and still have some questions, please feel free to visit our Tomorrow Insight page that’s filled with great information, articles, and more.