Cryonicist's Horizons

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Is Cryonics Ethical?

Discover some of the ethical questions surrounding cryonics.

The ethicality of cryonics has been a topic of controversy since its inception. It is often regarded as something that will not be possible and will never be from people who don’t believe in it. In contrast, human cryopreservation supporters believe that medical technology will advance to the point that revival is possible. 

As technology continues to evolve, the question that may eventually be asked could be whether or not people should be revived from biostasis. This raises an important question: is cryonics ethical?

Cryonics and Cryopreservation

Before we attempt to answer this question, it’s important to define what cryonics is.

What is Cryonics?

Cryonics, or human cryopreservation, is the practice of preserving a human body at cryogenic temperatures (-196°C) after their legal death. At Tomorrow Bio, the fastest growing cryonics company in Europe, we provide standby teams (SST) trained and equipped for field cryopreservation. This process  involves the team cooling down the patient’s body, both internally and externally, through a combination of techniques. These include the use of cardiopulmonary support (CPS), and perfusing the body with medical grade antifreeze aka cryoprotectant agents (CPAs). The main goal is to reduce ischemic damage to the brain - the most important organ to preserve - and the rest of the body. Once a patient has been completely perfused, they can then be transported to a long-term storage facility where they will remain indefinitely until they can be revived. 

The purpose of these techniques is not to straight up freeze the patient, but to vitrify them, whereby they undergo a transformation into a glass-like state. This vitrified state preserves cellular structure throughout the body.

Tomorrow Bio's standby team working in their specialized ambulance.
Cryonics can be seen as a life-saving procedure.

Now that we understand what cryonics is, we can look at the ethical implications of such a science. 

Ethical Implications of Cryonics

The purpose of cryonics is to treat a patient’s cause of death, and restore them to good health with the aid of advanced medical technology which doesn’t currently exist. This means relying on future technological developments to help in the repair and revival process. As it stands, this is an aspect of cryonics that has still yet to progress. Research has been conducted on small animals, however, there has yet to be significant advancements in human revival from biostasis. But what if this process were to, at some point in the future, work? What impact would this have on society?

Longevity & Life Expectancy

Ethical questions circulating cryonics, especially if it turns out to be a viable process, is whether or not humanity should be allowed to live longer than a normal lifespan.

As cryonics, along with science and technology, continues to advance, so too does our understanding of life, death, and longevity

Already our modern understanding of life and death has changed significantly in the last 60 years. In the 1950s, if you had a heart attack, the medical technology, procedures, and understanding of how death worked at the time meant that you would be considered dead. There was no way to save your life. Now, with the development of techniques like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), we know that the cessation of your heartbeat might not be the end: the dying process can be delayed (or halted).

On top of that, our life expectancy has doubled within the last 150 years. It can be surmised that as technology and longevity research advance, our life-expectancy will also increase. 

A graph showing the life expectancy in Europe from 1770 to 2019.
Life expectancy has more than doubled in the last 2 and half centuries.

Cryonics can be seen as a life-saving technology, no different to a technique like CPR. However, rather than immediately reversing the death process, it ‘pauses’ it, allowing medical technology the time it needs to advance to reverse the cause of death, thus saving the patient's life. How beneficial could this be to people doomed due to a terminal illness?

Implications for Society: Overpopulation

With this in mind, the question that needs to be asked is what cryonics would mean for society.

Currently, Humanity has to address overpopulation, but how would cryonics affect this? 

While overpopulation is a concern, there is evidence of population decline in several major developed countries including Germany, Sweden and Italy to name a few. In addition, there has been a global decline in birth rates. There are multiple factors that are contributing to this trend; delays in having children until later in life, education, career opportunities, the cost of raising children, and much more. Simply put, there are fewer births compared to earlier generations due to changes in quality of life. 

A graph showing the number of births and deaths per year around the world, and projections to 2100.j
While birth rates are declining, deaths per year have increased.

A graph showing the fertility rate (children per woman) across Europe and the rest of the World from 1950 to 2022.
Despite the fear of overpopulation, there has been a global decline in birth rates.

With this in mind, what does this mean for people who underwent cryopreservation? Would they contribute to this problem? This wouldn’t probably be the case. There are only around 500 people who have been cryopreserved around the world. Factoring in the number of people who’ve signed up to be cryopreserved, that is an additional 5000 people. As time goes on, this number could increase. However, even if this number increases 100 times over, that would still be only around a million people signed up for cryopreservation. That’s less than the population of Dublin, Ireland.

Implications for Society: The Cost of Immortality

While the purpose of cryonics is to save lives, and not to achieve immortality, it has frequently been debated nonetheless. If this technology allows one to reach, broadly speaking, a world where some sort of “immortality” exists, what does this mean? Given that cryonics is currently a rather expensive procedure, many believe that it’s exclusive to the wealthy and elite. Would this mean that only the wealthy could experience longevity at this scale?

Luckily, this is not the case. Tomorrow Bio and most cryonics organizations around the world help their members take out life insurance to fund their cryopreservation. This way, they will only have to pay an accessible monthly fee. Moreover, as cryonics and cryopreservation become more mainstream, the cost of this service will decrease. However, it is difficult to predict when the price will go down. If cryopreservation was a service offered by public health services, its cost would dramatically reduce, making it affordable for, possibly, everybody. 

Implications for Society: Revival, Then What?

One final aspect to consider, if and when revival works, is the ethical implications for those awakening from biostasis. After all, they will have been cryopreserved for quite some time since their legal death. The world will have changed significantly by the time they wake up. Would they be able to survive on their own after revival?

This is a concern cryonicists are acutely aware of. Even today, the world humanity knew a decade ago is not the same to today’s. Imagine how this would be for someone who wakes up half a century or more in the future?

The process of reintegration into society after biostasis will require support from the cryonics field, as well as support from other sectors such as education. While it is unclear what or how integration will work post-revival, it is an issue that cryonicists consider. It is too early to determine how this process will work, but the closer cryonicists are to revival, the sooner they can start planning for this.


Cryonics aims to provide people the option of choosing how long they want to live for, regardless of finances. This technology and field of science is still relatively young, but cryonicists and scientists must consider its implications. As the field progresses, more questions will arise regarding the ethics of cryonics. We at Tomorrow Bio do believe that cryonics is an ethical option for anyone interested in life-extension.

What are some questions you have about the ethicality of cryonics? Feel free to discuss them with us on Discord. Don’t forget to check out our E-Book on ethics in cryonics where we cover this topic, and see you tomorrow!

What are the ethics of cryonics?

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