You may have heard about cryonics (aka biostasis) and are curious if it’s something right for you. Or, maybe you’ve been thinking about it for a while, and decided it’s time to stop cryo-crastinating and act. Whatever your situation is, a good way to understand if you should sign up is to make a list of pros and cons. Not sure what they are? We’ve got you covered. At Tomorrow Bio, Europe's first biotech company specializing in human cryopreservation, we are well aware of the advantages and disadvantages of this innovative technology. So, here is our list of pros and cons about human cryopreservation.
Why should you choose cryonics? The aim of cryopreservation is to preserve a patient so that whatever caused their death can be cured with the aid of future technologies. This way, they have a chance to live an extended life in the future. A noble endeavor. Yet, not all arguments for or against this procedure depend on its future success. For example, both the research and the mindset behind developments within the cryonics field could influence our society, even before revival, in a positive way. Let’s analyze these pros together.
This is definitely the biggest argument in favor of human cryopreservation. Today in Europe, the average life expectancy is around 81 years. It’s projected to increase by the end of the 21st century to 90 years old.
How could this be achieved? One way is by treating illnesses that are still incurable today with new innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, and potentially nanotechnology and nanomedicine. These discoveries can help future societies treat a wide variety of diseases compared to what we can treat today. People who are “doomed” with current medical knowledge could potentially be treated in the future.
Cryonics is one such technology that can help with this. How? Through human cryopreservation, our members’ are preserved in a state where biological processes are paused, cellular decay is halted, and they can be stored indefinitely. Let’s imagine that medical developments will eventually find a way to cure brain cancer, even with advanced metastasis. Cryonics members with brain cancer could be cured and revived in the future, and be able to live a longer life.
This is what a 14 year old British girl chose after she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. For the chance at a longer life in the future, she decided cryopreservation was her best (and only) option. In case revival technology is developed, she and anyone who has opted for cryopreservation may be able to live an extended life. Wouldn’t this reason alone be enough to decide to join cryonics?
If and when revival technology works, cryonics members will wake up in the future. The world of the future will be significantly different compared to the world they left behind. Let’s say a person from 1900 suddenly woke up in 2022. They left a world where flying from place to place was a fantasy, communication via a mobile device was inconceivable, and much of the diseases that were rampant then are treatable in the modern era. Now, imagine life 100 years from now. What could we expect in the future? What new technologies could we benefit from? How will society look? Maybe we’ll finally be able to travel across the stars, or upload our minds to virtual reality. The future is full of opportunities. Our Tomorrow Bio’s members could be there to discover them.
The human body is made up of different interconnected systems, just like the branches of medicine that deal with them. Every scientific study can benefit from research made in other fields and, at the same time, can benefit other fields with its own research. For example, developments in the field of nanotechnology have impacted modern electronics. Qualities such as size, flexibility, and conductivity are all thanks to nanotechnologies that impact the way devices are manufactured. You know those bendable smartphones? That’s due to nanotechnology. Moreover, development in this field could highly influence the success of the cryonics industry.
Already, cryopreservation has contributed to stem cell research, and in-vitro fertilization. Cryopreservation has also been key to organ transplantation, however the process of rewarming is still complex. To revive a cryopreserved human being, we have to first understand how to thaw cryopreserved organs. This medical discovery could revolutionize both the cryonics and the organ transplant field. With current technologies, lungs and hearts usually need to be transplanted within 4 hours maximum. Liver and pancreas can survive up to 24 hours. If scientists learn how to cryopreserve and thaw these organs, they could store them in organ banks and, hopefully, find a solution to the shortage of organ donors. This technology alone would greatly advance the field of organ transplantation and cryonics, saving lives in two different ways.
Investing in cryonics means investing in scientific research. Understanding more about the dying process, aging and how to reverse this could help the development of other medical practices.
In the early days of human societies, short-term thinking was very important. Here-and-now was what kept humanity alive. As time progressed, we developed new skills that helped societies advance to become what they are today. One of these skills is long-term thinking. While this quality is rather useful today, on average we’re still not very good at practicing this. For example: have you ever bought something that wasn’t that necessary but gave you temporary pleasure? Did you ever regret buying it afterwards, realizing that you could have used that money for something more important? This is short-term in action.
People who sign up for cryonics expect to live in the future, and they want that future to be good. They might ask themselves, “What are the consequences of my actions in 200 years?” Normally we wouldn't ask ourselves this question. It’s difficult for the human mind to comprehend the future, especially the distant future.
Cryonics and biostasis could give us a different perspective on this. Imagine if we knew that a specific behavior we keep could cause pollution and climate change in the long-run. Our egoistic self may not see it as a problem. However, if people knew they would experience the long-term consequences later on in life, they would probably be more willing to change. Society needs to improve its long-term thinking; cryonics could help us do that.
Now that we’ve talked about the points in favor, what are the ones that might make you decide not to sign up for cryonics? Is it the costs or perhaps its uncertainty that is stopping you?
The cryopreservation process consists of several steps. Let’s have a look at them:
Adding up all these steps, we get a total of €200,000. Why is it such a high price tag? Let’s break this sum down.
At Tomorrow Bio, €80,000 is allocated for fast response. This sum ensures that the standby (SST) team is on call 24/7, as well as help fund the transportation necessary to reach patients, and transport their body to our storage facility after FCP. If a patient passes away somewhere outside of Europe, these funds can help pay for flights and transportation needed to reach them.
So, what about the remaining €120,000? This sum goes towards the indefinite care of patients. Since we can't predict when the necessary medical technology will be developed, we don’t know how long patients will remain stored. Because of this, cryonics companies like Tomorrow Bio, need to be prepared for anything. This lump sum helps ensure that patients can be stored until revival. The funds are managed by a patient care trust, which makes low risk investments. These can grow and earn 1-2% above inflation, meaning it is more than enough to keep a patient stored for the long-term.
However you look at it, cryonics at the moment is not cheap. At Tomorrow Bio, we hope that as interest in cryonics grows, the price for this service will decrease.
There is another main reason why people interested in cryonics may choose not to join: nobody has ever been revived. The technology behind revival doesn’t exist yet and it will probably take many years to develop it. While we can cryopreserve and subsequently thaw embryos, semen, tissues and simple organisms, thawing an organism as complex as a human body is still not yet possible. There are potential theories as to what future revival technologies might look like. However, it will take time to develop them.
This means that by signing up for cryonics, you are trusting that the medical field will eventually be able to cure you of your cause of death, and revive you from biostasis. There are several reasons to believe it might. Looking at the latest advancements in healthcare, today’s medical problems could be solved in the future. Yet, most humans are more of “see it to believe it”, and revival will be a challenge.
Let's try to summarize. Cryonics could potentially save lives and allow people the chance to experience the future. It could also improve our long-term thinking and help the development of scientific research. On the other hand, it isn’t cheap and there is no certainty of when or if it will eventually work. To make a decision you need to ask yourself: “Is it worth it to invest my money in a potential technology that could give me more years of life in the future?”
Do you think it’s worth the investment?
Let us know on our Discord server, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to schedule a call with us. Still unsure about cryonics? Check out Tomorrow Insight for more information about cryopreservation, Tomorrow Bio and more, and see you Tomorrow!