Using science to live forever sounds like a futuristic thing, but one company claims they can do just that today.
To answer Queen’s flamboyant question that’s also the title of the song – “Who wants to live forever?” – a lot of people dream of eternal life. That we’ve so painstakingly tried to slow down the aging process is perhaps proof that we’re not there yet. However, one company claims there could be a way to escape our eventual ending – or at least postpone it.
Alcor, a firm based in Arizona, USA, brands itself as the world leader in cryonics, which refers to the process of freezing a body after death to later be brought back to life. In a few words, the company calls it “immortality freezing.”
Technically, they still deal with people who have died. The hope, though, lies in the fact that freezing one’s corpse and brain in liquid nitrogen after legal death would delay decomposition until some future scientific breakthrough allows humans to be brought back to life.
Full-body preservation costs an astonishing $200,000 (about P10 million), with annual costs reaching up to $705 (about P35,500) a year after the person’s death. If you only want your brain to be frozen in time, you will be charged $80,000 (about P4 million) to be a neuro-patient.
Though the figures look astronomical, Alcor CEO Max More says the procedure is actually quite affordable – if you have life insurance, that is.
“I signed up as a student in England, quite poor,” More shared. “The vast majority of our members pay through life insurance. “They just make Alcor the beneficiary, you just pay standard monthly for life insurance.”
“So for the vast majority of people, it’s actually quite affordable. If you can afford to go out to Starbucks every couple of days for a coffee, you can afford cryonics.”
To wit, Alcor currently has over 1,400 members, including 184 patients who have died and whose corpses have been frozen inside one of Alcor’s chambers.
Membership costs $660 (about P33,000) per year for the first family member. Every membership by a legal-aged relative thereafter is subject to an almost 50% discount. For minors, membership is $96 (about P4,800) a year. Members can even have their pets preserved cryonically.
If – or hopefully, when – the time comes that the corpse and brain can be revived, does it get to keep the memories? Alcor believes so, alluding to research made on worms.
“This is the first evidence of preservation of memory after cryopreservation,” said Natasha Vita-More, researcher and Mr. More’s wife. “Further research on larger organisms with more complex nervous systems could prove to be beneficial to the issue of cryopreservation, including, specifically, memory retention after reviving.”
Alcor was founded by Fred and Linda Chamberlain in 1972 after Fred’s father had a stroke. He passed in 1976 and made history as the first neuro-preservation patient ever. Fred himself is in deep freeze inside Alcor’s facility.
Would you want to “live forever” in deep freeze?