Frequent Complicated Questions About Cryonics
Biostasis aka cryonics can be a complex subject for some people. It may generate some questions that we, at Tomorrow, are doing our best to answer. What is cryonics? How does it work? How much does it cost? Could it ever work? These are the questions we often receive from people that have never heard about the topic, and you can read the answers in our FAQ page. People who have known about cryonics for many years may have different questions. Here is a collection of the most complicated questions we have received — and our answers.
Questions about cryonics
Some of the topics that worry people the most are related to its legality, it’s ethics, and the chances of revival.
Is cryonics legal in my country?
Different European countries have different laws related to burial practices. To avoid any possible local difficulty resulting from this, cryonics providers have found an alternative way. Instead of classifying cryopreservation as a burial practice, it’s legally framed as scientific research.
When you sign a contract with a cryonics provider, you agree to donate your body to research after your legal death. Body donation is legal in most European countries (Germany, Switzerland, Austria, UK, Spain, Italy, France, etc.). Of course, your body will not be used for actual research, the cryopreservation of the patient is just called research for legal purposes. Thanks to this, it is permitted to transport a body from one country to another without legal intervention. This legal framework has been used in the last few years for several European members, without any issue.
At Tomorrow Biostasis, we partnered with the European Biostasis Foundation (EBF), which takes care of the long term storage of our patients. EBF is a non-profit organization, based in Switzerland, dedicated to basic, translational and applied research in the areas of biostasis, cryobiology and biopreservation. When signing our Biostasis contract, you agree that your body will be donated to EBF after your legal death. After the standby team starts your cryopreservation, your body is transported to EBF, where the procedure is completed and your body will be stored as long as it’s needed.
If you are worried about legality please reach out to us, we would be happy to explain how it works in your specific country. If you want to read more about how to ensure that all of your papers are in order before your cryopreservation, check out this article.
Is cryonics an ethical choice?
There is a wide misunderstanding of what cryonics actually is and of the reasons why people make this choice. Many relate cryonics with selfishness, for example, or think that it’s a way to achieve immortality.
First of all, one of the reasons why people choose biostasis is because they love life. If possible, they want to have a chance to extend their life in the future. Is it selfish or unethical to want to gain more life by defeating diseases that would otherwise kill us? Many people try to increase their lifespan everyday by going to the gym, eating healthy and taking vitamins. They spend time and effort trying to live a few years longer. The difference between these behaviours and cryonics is the time frame considered.
Secondly, biostasis’ final goal is not immortality. It may be the case that in the future, when revival is possible, people will have already achieved immortality thanks to technological innovations in the medical field, but not through biostasis directly. What cryonics is all about is saving lives. People with ailments that are incurable today could be saved in the future, giving extra years of life. Is it unethical to save lives? In the last decades, we have discovered more and more ways to save people’s lives by treating their illnesses. Is it unethical to transplant organs? Or to take antibiotics? Or to get vaccinated? Is there a limit after which it becomes unethical to save lives?
Finally, some people believe that cryonics is unethical because it’s unnatural. But natural is a relative concept that doesn’t always mean good. Think about it. Not long ago people would have died of diseases that are treatable today, like polio. It would have been natural back then. Now, we have a vaccine for polio. Our idea of when it’s “natural” to die has changed. Cryonics aims to change it even further. Wouldn’t it be amazing to live in a world where we could decide how long we want to live?
If you want to read more about cryonics and its ethics, check out this article.
How far away are we from revival?
One of the most common questions is: when will revival be possible? The honest answer is, it is not possible to predict exactly when revival will happen, as significant medical developments are still needed.
At the moment, cryopreservation and subsequent functional revival is possible for tissues, semen, embrions, and some types of worms. Researchers are working on finding a successful way to thaw entire organs. If you are interested in an expert opinion, we would recommend watching this video from Biostasis2021. Dr. Ramon Risco, Professor at the Engineering University of Seville, talks about the challenges that he is experiencing in the revival of organs after cryopreservation. Once the cryopreservation of organs is achieved, research will move to more complex organisms.
Nevertheless, whether it’s 50, 100, 1000 years or more, our patients will remain cryopreserved for however long it takes for future technology to advance enough to make revival possible. Biologically, there is no time limit for how long a person can be cryopreserved as all metabolic processes in the body have been paused. Since our patients can be preserved indefinitely, we are confident that at some point in time they will be revived — we just can’t guarantee when.
Questions about Tomorrow
Additionally, people have questions specifically about Tomorrow Biostasis. Since we are a young company, some people may be skeptical about our ability to deliver our promises. This is why we have created a structure that is as secure and transparent as possible.
How do I know this is not a scam?
The rumor that cryonics is a scam is almost as old as cryonics itself. This is because the success of cryonics is based on a technology that doesn’t exist yet. When choosing a biostasis provider, it is important to make sure that it is legally committed to its mission.
How can we, at Tomorrow Biostasis, make sure that we will continue pursuing revival for as long as it’s needed? During our foundation, lots of thought was put in creating the most stable and secure structure. Revival technology may take centuries and it’s important that the people who will take over Tomorrow after us will have rules to follow and respect.
Our partner organization, the European Biostasis Foundation (EBF) takes care of the long term storage of Tomorrow’s patients. Foundations in Switzerland are overseen by a government body to ensure that the purpose of the foundation does not change. This helps to ensure that EBF stays stable and on mission. Additionally, the statutes and bylaws of EBF were made to optimize stability (e.g. self amending board, vote quorums, etc). Switzerland itself is also one of the most secure and stable countries in the world. Switzerland ranks 5th in the Fund for Peace Fragile States index (2021) and 10th in the World Bank Political Stability Index (2020).
Finally, Tomorrow Biostasis is a mission-driven organization. The entire team, from our co-founders to standby team members, to people in charge of social media and marketing, are dedicated to this mission. Most employees have signed up themselves and are actively doing their best to ensure the success of biostasis. We are all personally committed to achieving revival and making an extended life in the future possible. If you want to get in touch with our co-founders or any team member, feel free to send us a message on LinkedIn.
What happens if you go bankrupt?
Tomorrow Biostasis is structured to be significantly more financially stable than most companies. Since our cryopreserved patients’ security is of primary importance, we decided to store them at the European Biostasis Foundation. Since EBF is a non-profit organization, it would not be affected by any change at Tomorrow Biostasis. EBF’s funding sources are also not dependent on Tomorrow Biostasis. This means that, if anything ever happened to Tomorrow, our patients would be completely safe, since EBF supervises their storage.
And how about the members that haven’t been cryopreserved yet? They will be asked if they prefer to cancel their biostasis contract or change the beneficiary to another existing biostasis provider, to maintain their coverage somewhere else. We would help members set up a contract with another cryonics provider in case that is something they want.
In any case, bankruptcy doesn’t happen from one day to another. If things went wrong, we would know in advance and we would do all we can to assure the best possible outcome for our members.
How do you make sure I will not just be dumped in the street after revival?
Since revival may take some time to be achieved, our members would wake up in a future that is in some ways different from today’s reality. Society changes constantly and there is a chance that people who lived in the past may find some things from the future unusual. For this reason, it is important that our patients get our support once they wake up.
Some patients may have family members that will help them reintegrate, find a job (if working is still a thing), and recreate a life. Yet, patients who will find themselves without “blood connection” will need help to reintegrate as well. Whichever the case is, we will help our members reintegrate into future society, guaranteeing their basic needs are met.
Additionally, it’s likely that a part of what patients paid before their cryopreservation will still be there. This money will be adapted to future currencies, and given back to the patients after revival as “starting money”.
We expect that future society will have interest in helping these people coming from the past. We expect a society where technological innovation will solve problems related to climate change and produce food in abundance.