Pros And Cons Of Biostasis aka Cryonics
Maybe you have just heard about biostasis (also known as cryonics) and you are trying to understand if it’s something for you. Or maybe you have been thinking about it for a while and you have now decided that it’s time to stop cryo-crastinating and make up your mind. Whatever your situation is, a good way to understand if cryonics is a choice you want to make is to evaluate its pros and cons. We have prepared a list for you of the main arguments in favor and against cryopreservation. Have a look at them and make an informed decision.
Why should you choose cryonics? Certainly the most obvious arguments in favor of this decision are related to future revival. If and when revival technology is developed, members who were “doomed” at the time of their legal death will potentially be cured and will be able to enjoy an extended life in the future. Yet, some arguments for or against are independent of whether the technology will ultimately be successful or not. For example, both the research and the mindset behind the development of the biostasis field could positively influence our society, even before revival. Let’s analyze these pros together.
Cryonics could possibly save lives
This is definitely the biggest argument in favour of cryopreservation. Today in Europe we have an average life expectancy of around 81 years. There is reason to expect that in the future humanity will be able to live several years (or even decades or more) longer. How are they going to do that? By treating illnesses that are still untreatable today. Researchers and scientists, potentially with the use of artificial intelligence, will make new discoveries (as they have always been doing). These discoveries will help the future society treat a wider amount of diseases compared to what we can treat today. This means that people who are “doomed” today could probably be treated in the future.
Cryonics could save their lives. How? Through cryopreservation, our members’ are preserved in a state where biological processes are paused. Their bodies don’t degrade and can stay preserved for as long as it’s needed. Let’s imagine that in the future medical technology will find a way to finally treat brain cancer, even with advanced metastasis. All people who died of brain cancer could possibly be treated and revived.
There was a case in 2014 that made the whole world talk about cryonics. A UK 14-year-old girl who was dying of a rare form of cancer decided to be cryopreserved. If and when revival technology is developed, she and all people cryopreserved may be able to live an extended life. Wouldn’t this reason alone be enough to decide to join cryonics?
Members have a chance to experience the future
If revival technology works, our members will wake up in the future. They will open their eyes to a world and a society that is likely to be different from the present one. Imagine what the situation was like in 1900: people had no indoor plumbing, no phones and no cars. Now imagine life 100 years from now. Some aspects of life will be very significantly different from what we are used to! Considering that society has continuously evolved, improving living conditions, it is to be expected that this trend will continue. Life in the future could likely be better than life today.
Will we use flying machines? Will we travel to other planets? Will there still be such things as the money and food we are used to now? The future is full of opportunities. Our members could be there to discover them.
It supports the development of medical technology
Our bodies are made up of different systems which are interconnected, just like the branches of medicine that deal with them. A discovery made in one field can often benefit another. Just as a drug developed to solve a specific problem could also work for another disease. An example is sildenafil, a medicine that was created to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension and now is commonly known and sold as Viagra.
The same applies to biostasis. This field will probably benefit from research made in other fields and, at the same time, could benefit other fields with its own research. Investing in the biostasis field, means investing in scientific research. Understanding more about how the process of dying could be paused and reversed could have positive effects in other medical practices.
A clear example is research into cryopreservation. To revive a cryopreserved human being, we have to first understand how to thaw cryopreserved organs. This medical discovery could revolutionize both the biostasis and the organ transplant field. In fact, with current technology, lungs and hearts usually have to be transplanted within a maximum of 4 hours. Liver and pancreas can survive up to 24 hours. If we knew how to cryopreserve and thaw them, we could store organs and hopefully find a solution to the shortage of organ donors. This technology alone will greatly advance the field of transplantation and biostasis, saving lives in two different ways.
It endorses our long term thinking
When our society wasn’t as developed as it is today, short-term thinking was very important. Here-and-now was what kept us alive. Since then, we have been developing several new skills that fit today’s society better. One of them is long-term thinking. While this quality is rather useful nowadays, on average we are still not very good at it. For example: have you ever bought something that wasn’t that necessary but gave you temporary pleasure? Have you ever regretted buying it afterwards, realizing that you could have used that money for something more important? This is short-term thinking prevailing over long-term thinking.
Yet, people who sign up for cryonics expect to live in the future. And they want that future to be good. What are the consequences of my actions in 200 years? Normally we wouldn’t ask ourselves this question. It may sound egoistic but it is in fact hard for the human brain to think about the future. Especially about a future where we will not exist anymore.
Biostasis could give us a different perspective on this. Imagine we knew that a specific behavior we keep could cause pollution and climate change in the long term. Our egoistic self may not see it as a problem. But if we knew we would be there in the long term, we would probably be more willing to change this action. Our society needs to improve its long-term thinking. Cryonics could help us do that.
Now that we have seen the different arguments in favour, what are the ones that might make you decide not to join cryonics? Is it the costs or perhaps its uncertainty that is stopping you?
It’s rather expensive
The cryopreservation process consists of several steps, each of which has a fairly high cost. Let’s have a look at them:
- Transportation of the standby team to the patient
- Initial field cryoprotectant procedure
- Transportation of the patient to the long-term storage facility
- Subsequent cooling and completion of the procedure
- Long-term preservation
- Future revival
Adding up all these steps, we get a total of 200,000 euros. We expect that in the future, when cryonics becomes a more common practice, the costs will decrease. But for now, this is the price and some people interested in cryonics may not be willing (or able) to pay that amount.
Of course, you can fund your cryopreservation plan via insurance such as term-life insurance. While you’re young this makes the monthly cost much more affordable — somewhere between 40–100 Euros per month for most people. But since this is term-life insurance, it only covers you for a certain duration, e.g. until you’re 70. You can learn more about this funding here.
However you look at it, it’s not cheap, and it is a fair argument to want to do something else with that money at the end of your life.
The necessary revival technology is still missing
Apart from its price, 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 may take several years, decades or even centuries 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 doable.
This means that, joining cryonics, you decide to trust that medical technology will be able to develop this technology in the future. There are several reasons to believe it might. Looking at the latest advancements in healthcare, it is possible to believe that there won’t be many things that technology won’t be able to eventually achieve. Yet, most humans are more of “see it to believe it”. And revival is definitely not something that will be easy by any means.
Let’s try to summarise. Biostasis could potentially save your life and make you experience the future. It could improve your long term thinking and help the development of scientific research. On the other hand, it will cost you a significant amount of money and there is no certainty that it will eventually work. To make a decision you could 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?” What do you think?
If you have any questions about Biostasis or you want to discuss it’s pros and cons with us, schedule a call. If you feel now ready to join our community, sign up here!