Women In Cryonics
It is not a secret that biostasis (aka cryonics) is one of those fields with a higher percentage of men. At Tomorrow Biostasis more than 80% of our members are male and many of our female members have signed up together with their husbands. Nevertheless, women have contributed to the development of the biostasis community since its very beginning. With this article, we want to celebrate them; hopefully inspiring more women to join us on this incredible journey.
Born in 1946, Linda Lee Chamberlain (McClintock)’s interest in cryonics started in the ’70s. Back then, the cryonics community was in its infancy. Only a few people had already been cryopreserved and the procedure used still had some weaknesses.
Linda met her life partner, Fred Chamberlain, as they were both members of a committee that was organizing the Third National Conference On Cryonics sponsored by the Cryonics Society of California (CSC). Together, Linda and Fred Chamberlain wrote the first detailed procedure manual for cryonics that had ever existed. In 1972, following some disagreements with CSC, they decided to leave the organization and open their own cryonics company. Thus the Alcor Life Extension Foundation was born. Alcor’s first patient was Fred’s father — the first neuropreservation ever. Linda’s mother was also cryopreserved in 1990 and is now stored at Alcor. Linda and Fred dedicated their lives to the development of the biostasis community and cryopreservation procedures. After Fred died and was cryopreserved in 2012, Linda left retirement and went back to work for Alcor. There, she is the person in charge of writing the medical case report for each patient’s cryopreservation. Additionally, she helps Alcor members set up funding trusts and revival trusts. Linda’s dedication to the cause is more than admirable!
'They think maybe what we're doing is trying to bring back the dead, and we're not'
Alcor co-founder Linda Chamberlain talks about cryonics, a process where people have their bodies frozen in hopes that…
Speaking of Alcor, there are several other women whose work for the growth of the biostasis community is definitely noteworthy. One of them is Lisa Harris, a member of Alcor and advisor to the board of directors. Additionally, Lisa is also on Alcor’s legal and regulatory committee as well as the research and development committee. Lisa currently works at Dignity Health, a non-profit corporation focusing on healthcare research technology.
Lisa definitely belongs to that group of women who discovered cryonics thanks to their partner. Yet, while her husband Patrick Harris (currently CEO of Alcor) was a cryocrastinator, she was the one signing up first — and pushing him to finally take the leap.
Having experience as an attorney, Lisa has an excellent understanding of the legal side of cryonics. Are you wondering how to ensure your future holds wealth? Or how to maximize the chance of future revival? Check out this podcast where Lisa, together with Max Marty and Daniel Walters, will answer all (or at least most) of your questions.
If you are looking for inspiring women in the cryonics world, you should definitely check out Nicole (Nikki) Olson’s work.
Nikki got interested in futurism and transhumanist theories in her mid-twenties. At that time, she expected that the singularity was about to happen and didn’t give too much attention to the cryonics movement. She decided to study computer science and become a software developer. In 2017 Nikki got married. Her husband was highly interested in cryonics (yes, she too got into the field because of her partner). Together, they visited Alcor and had a tour of the facility with Max More.
When a few years later Nikki cryopreserved her cat, she became more emotionally involved with the biostasis community. She started attending online hangouts and came across the issue around which a good part of her work is based: unattended death. Statistically, most people die in the hospital because of degenerative diseases. However, in less frequent cases, people die accidentally. If the standby team is not alerted immediately, ischemia could damage the brain tissues and lead to lower quality cryopreservation. Together with a small team, Nikki is now working on developing wearable monitoring technology. The idea is to notify the corresponding biostasis provider as soon as the heartbeat stops, without the dying person having to take any action. Listen to this podcast and discover the challenges and promises behind this project.
In Europe as well, we have a good amount of women who are changing the biostasis field. Francesca Minerva is a research fellow at the University of Milan, where she specializes in Moral Philosophy. Additionally, she is the co-founder and co-editor of the Journal of Controversial Ideas. Her work focuses on several moral dilemmas that exist in healthcare and generally in our society. How is the development of new medical technologies (i.e. cryonics), changing our way of living? Are these new technologies causing unrecognized forms of discrimination? In what ways is death a bad thing, and what might be the implications of an indefinitely long lifespan?
In 2018, Francesca published a very interesting book called The Ethics of Cryonics: Is it Immoral to be Immortal? This work revolves around the question: is it selfish to decide to invest our money into an experimental medical practice that may or may not succeed? All cryonicists have faced at least once the question: is cryonics ethical? If you are looking for an answer, check out her talk at the Biostasis2020 Conference.
Women at Tomorrow Biostasis
Finally, here we are. Since Tomorrow Biostasis opened its doors at the end of 2019, several women have given their contribution to the growth of the company and the biostasis community. From optimizing our service, supporting clients, writing articles, taking care of social media, and designing our website, lots of work has been done! Yet, we know that there is still a long way to go. Most people still believe that cryonics is only a “thing from the movies”. Luckily, we are not going to give up on spreading awareness and educating people about the topic!
Being quite a niche and relatively new field, we still don’t have enough sociological studies to help us understand why men are more interested in cryonics than women. At Tomorrow, we are doing our best to change this. If and when revival will work, biostasis members will have a chance to extend their lifespan and experience the future. We want to make sure that women don’t miss out on this opportunity. All people should be able to choose how long they want to live, no matter their gender.