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Facts About Cryonics You Need To Know

How much do you actually know about cryonics? Let’s find out.

With advancements in medical technology, cryonics (aka biostasis) is becoming a more accepted topic of discussion. You may have come across cryonics, whether through your own research or through media and entertainment like Futurama or Star Wars. While still a rather niche subject, conversations from cellular rejuvenation to space travel to the prospect of humanity surpassing its physical limitations are relevant to cryonics. Interested in joining the conversation? Here are some facts about cryonics you need to know.

There Are 5 Cryonics Facilities in 4 Different Continents

Cryonics facilities need to be located in areas that are geographically, politically, and economically safe. This is because they have to store the patients indefinitely until future revival is possible. It would be unwise to construct a facility in an area prone to natural disasters or in high risk conflict zones. 

However, it’s not easy finding locations that meet all of these requirements.


Where Can I Be Cryopreserved? 

Currently, cryonics providers have found 5 safe areas to build their long-term storage facilities:


That’s only a handful of continents with cryonics facilities. Surely there are other continents that could store patients indefinitely. What about Antarctica? 


Could Antarctica Work?


If you have some basic knowledge about cryonics, you may understand why a facility in Antarctica wouldn't work.

First, it would be difficult and more expensive for the standby team (SST) to reach you quickly, factoring the climate and the necessary transportation. Secondly, it would also be just as challenging to bring you back to the facility to complete the procedure. Thirdly, it would be difficult to get the necessary liquid nitrogen delivered to keep you stored indefinitely to the facility. For these reasons, along with others, are why the coldest continent on the planet is not a best place to store cryopreserved patients. Perhaps in the future, if these concerns are addressed, a facility could possibly be constructed, but not now.

You may have also noticed that there are no facilities in Africa and South America. People interested in cryonics living in these continents will have to select a facility elsewhere. If the demand for cryonics and cryopreservation services in these specific continents grows, it’s possible that providers may develop the necessary infrastructure for this to occur.

A map of cryonics facilities around the world.
The number of biostasis facilities has doubled in the last 10 years.

The “Father of Cryonics” Has Been Stored For Only Ten Years

In 1962, Robert Ettinger published his book The Prospect of Immortality. This work is globally recognized as the starting point for cryonics. All the advancements that have brought this field to where it is now stem from Ettinger and his book. He died in 2011 at the age of 92, and was Cryonic Institute’s 106th case

In the years following his publication, cryonics has made significant advancements both technologically and procedurally. For example, vitrification, our main method of cryopreservation, was introduced around 2006. The process involves inducing patient’s into a glass-like state at low temperatures using cryoprotectant agents (CPAs) so that they can be stored at the temperature of liquid nitrogen, around -196°C. Today, all standby teams are trained to perform vitrification in field cryopreservation.

Pet Cryopreservation Is A Real Procedure

Yes, pet cryopreservation is possible. In fact, most cryonic providers offer this service for their members. Tomorrow Bio offers this service too.

But why would someone want to cryopreserve their pets? 

Imagine this: you’re revived 200 years from now. The world will likely be different from what you knew before. It’s exciting but with so many new and unfamiliar things, it can be overwhelming. Readjusting and reintegrating to life after revival may be a challenge, but it doesn’t mean you have to face it alone. Wouldn’t it be easier to have a familiar face with you as you face this new world? What if your furry friend could join you? Some people want this since there are, at the moment, around 354 pets cryopreserved around the world, and not just cats and dogs, but also birds and rodents too.


But how does this process work? Procedurally, it’s not too different from human cryopreservation. Obviously, pets are smaller than humans so the quantity of the cryoprotectant agents (CPAs) used on pets is much lower. However, the aim is to cool the body temperature of your pet after they die so that they can be vitrified and stored indefinitely until future revival.

Two domesticated rodents eating food on the floor.
Already 354 pets have been cryopreserved - some of them are hamsters.

The Long Term Cryogenics Storage Dewars Are Basically A Big Thermos

The storage device that will allow cryopreserved patients to eventually wake up in the future is something akin to a large, high quality thermos. But what are they and how do they work?

What Is A Dewar and What Does It Do? 


A cryogenic storage dewar is a vacuum container used for transportation and storage for cryogens. The cryogen used extensively in cryonics is liquid nitrogen. Dewars prevent heat transfer, similar to a thermos, but designed for low temperature liquids. Now, why would we use liquid nitrogen with our cryogenic storage dewars for human cryopreservation?

Stay Cool

Liquid nitrogen is a gas with a boiling point of -196°C and a freezing point of -210°C. It has a natural temperature that is below the glass-transition point necessary to achieve vitrification. Because nitrogen is a natural gas, it can be easily extracted from the air using a liquid nitrogen generator. 


To keep the gas from dispersing back into the air, the cryogenic storage dewars ensure the liquid nitrogen is contained. This keeps the dewar cold without any heat transfer. So when a patient comes to a long-term facility for cryopreservation, they are placed in one of these storage dewars where they will remain indefinitely until future revival. These are refilled manually, requiring no electricity to keep functioning. 

Can I Be Cryopreserved Alive?

This is one of the most common questions when discussing cryonics. Some people think it makes more sense to be cryopreserved alive, perhaps because of how we see cryopreservation in the media. Films and shows like Futurama often show a similar (if inaccurate) process carried out on still living patients. But is this possible?

The short answer: no.

Why is that?


How Cryopreservation Works in Practice

When a standby team comes to a patient, their first priority is cooling their temperature down to reduce ischemic damage in the brain. A body at low temperatures reduces the metabolism, meaning that the need for oxygen decreases. This is necessary after legal death because once biological death sets in, cells will become starved of oxygen. The longer they are without oxygen, the more cells will decay and die. 

Reducing the core temperature is achieved through a combination of external cooling using ice and water, and internal cooling through perfusion of cryoprotectant agents. Blood is replaced with these cryoprotectant solutions to prevent ice crystal formation from damaging cells. At warm temperatures, these protectants are toxic to the body, however, at cryogenic temperatures, they aren’t.


What’s the Verdict?


Apart from the fact that legally a standby team cannot perform this procedure until after legal death, it would be highly illegal for them to carry this out on a living patient. The process would kill a living person, which would be considered homicide. So, no; a person cannot be cryopreserved alive.

Human cryopreservation isn’t yet a space or time travelling procedure. Instead it’s an ultimate life-saving technology. Its aim is to halt the dying process so that patients who cannot be treated today could be in the future. This allows medical technology the time to develop and advance in order to treat the cause of death in the patient. Such a technology could save lives normally doomed with current medical knowledge. 

The Youngest Cryopreserved Patient Ever

If you want to know more about cryonics and why it is a life-saving technology, you should watch Hope Frozen on Netflix. This Thai documentary follows a couple who decide to cryopreserved their 3-year old daughter after her legal death. Why did they choose this procedure? We won’t spoil it for you. Just make sure you have tissues close by while watching!

There are other films that discuss cryonics and biostasis, both more seriously, and others more entertaining that we recommend you check out. 

A promotional poster for the documentay Hope Frozen A Quest To Live Twice
Hope Frozen - cryonics as a future life-saving technology.


Interest in cryonics has increased in the last few years. The latest technological advancements have shown how things we once believed were impossible can actually be achieved. While future revival will take time to achieve, cryonic providers expect an increase in the number of members over  the next decades. What could this mean for cryonics? If there is an increase in demand, this could help reduce the price per capita, meaning that human cryopreservation could become more affordable over time. This would allow for more people to sign up for this service.


So, now that you’ve learned some facts about cryonics, the next time someone mentions ‘freezing people’ or ‘cryopreservation’, you can impress them with your newfound knowledge. Maybe they’ll consider signing up too…


Want to join the cryonics community? Join us on Discord and check out Tomorrow Bio Insight for news and updates related to all things cryonics. Interested in signing yourself up? You can schedule a call with us, or even sign-up if you’re convinced. See you tomorrow!

Tomorrow Bio is the worlds fastest growing human cryopreservation provider. Our all inclusive cryopreservation plans start at just 31€ per month. Learn more here.