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Membership FAQ

If you're Interested in cryonics, casually, seriously or anywhere in between, joining the Cryonics Institute is a great way to find resources, like-minded people and most of all, state-of-the-art cryonics services at the most affordable prices anywhere.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Just fill out the membership form! You can get it either by emailing us at CIHQ@aol.com and requesting a mailed copy, or you can download or print the appropriate Membership Form from the web site. We offer two membership types with two distinct forms: Annual and Lifetime.

Annual Memberships are $120 per year and must be renewed every year. Payments can be scheduled as one annual payment or in quarterly installments. An Annual Membership also require a one-time $75 initiation fee on sign-up. However, an Annual Membership may be upgraded to a Lifetime Membership with the previous year's payments applied to the cost of the Lifetime Membership.

A Lifetime Membership is $1,250 with no initiation fee and never needs to be renewed. If you are seriously considering Cryonic Suspsension at CI, it's important to note a significant benefit of Lifetime Membership is a reduced rate for cryonic suspension. Annual Membership cost for Human Cryonic Suspension is $35,000. A Lifetime Member's cost is $28,000.

Once we receive the first dues payment and the completed Membership application form, your membership is in full force and you have the right to arrange a Cryonic Suspension Agreement or cryopreserve a pet or cryopreserve tissue (DNA). With the information from the Membership application form we create personalized contracts for you for the specific cryopreservation services you may desire.

So your first step is to pay your Membership fee and send us the completed application. We will then create your personalized forms, based on whether you are a Lifetime Member or Yearly Member, what country you live in, what kind of cryopreservation services you want, etc.

No, although Cryonics Services are only available to members, CI Membership certainly does not require you to contract for services. It is important to note we are a member owned and operated organization, which means every person involved has both a vested interest in cryonics and a say in how The Cryonics Institute is operated. Any paid member can visit our facilities, run for the Board of Directors, offer suggestions and ideas and more. Essentially, members may choose to become as actively or passively involved as they like.

Cryopreservation services are, of course, extremely personalized arrangements, therefore please DO NOT apply using the reference forms on our web site. The Cryopreservation contracts and associated forms we have in our library are for reference only, to help you get an idea of what's involved in the formal process. To arrange for services, please contact us and we will send you official, personalized forms that match your type of membership, location and circumstances. These forms will contain your printed name, address and other relevant information, and will include instructions to direct you to better complete what you need to complete as well as any sections you need not complete.

A complete guide to all of the required and optional contracts needed to be cryopreserved at the Cryonics Institute can be found at: Guide to the Human Cryopreservation Contracts. Again, please remember, these contracts are or reference only. Please contact us to receive Formal Contracts for cryopreservation services.

No, cryonics services are separate from the cost of membership. With a Lifetime CI Membership the cost of cryopreservation is the most affordable price available anywhere — $28,000. The cost of cryopreservation under the Yearly Membership is higher: $35,000. Also, please note that for members not living in the Detroit, Michigan area there will be additional local and transportation costs involved. The suspension costs are typically funded affordably through life insurance.

Yes, unfortunately there are associated costs for local help, standby and transportation arrangements. These costs are usually a few thousand dollars, but this varies depending on individual local arrangements and, for shipping, the distance from Michigan. You will also be required to pay a funeral director to prepare the patient for shipping, prepare the legal documents and to convey the patient to the airline if you don't live in Michigan.

Obviously the cost will be somewhat more the farther away you are: a jet flight to Michigan from Tokyo will cost more than a drive from Detroit. (We should note that none of any such additional fees go to CI.)

There is also an optional additional cost for those who want to contract for professional Standby & Tranport service with the Florida-based company Suspended Animation, Inc. With this service, SA will attempt to "stand by the bedside" of a terminal cryonics patient and apply immediate cooldown and cardiopulmonary support upon pronouncement of death, and continue to provide such support during transport to the Cryonics Institute.

Many of the additional costs are referred to as "Local Help," which means preparation and shipping costs by a funeral director who is local to the area where the Member lives. These costs can be paid directly in cash by the family or can be included in the insurance funding for Members who use a Local Help Rider. There is a Lifetime Member Local Help Rider and an Annual Member Local Help Rider. The amount of money required for Local Help could be several thousand dollars or more (for someone living overseas), depending on the funeral director's fees, the distance from CI and other individual local arrangements.

The additional costs of professional SA Standby and Transport (for those who what these services) can be paid for by the same kind of funding options that are used to pay for the main cryopreservation fees — by insurance, by prepayment, etc. Local Help is provided by the cryonics organization Suspended Animation via the Suspended Animation Local Help Rider.

Most CI Members pay for their cryopreservation arrangements by buying a life insurance policy that names the Cryonics Institute (and Suspended Animation, Inc., if relevant) as the beneficiary (beneficiaries) of the life insurance policy. Life insurance has the benefit that it avoids probate and offers protection until other means of funding can be arranged. For more information about funding human cryopreservation, see Funding Human Cryopreservation.

The objectives remain the same in any country: to find a funeral director who has familiarity with shipping human remains overseas — a funeral director who is willing to take a cryonics patient and who is willing to ship that patient in ice. Prior experience with a cryonics patient can be helpful, but is not required. Thus far, a funeral director has been located in every country where one has been needed.

Yes. You can switch to a Lifetime Membership at any time. If you join as a student, say, and want to pay an affordable low fee till you graduate and then save up and pay $1,250 — well, you can. Once you do, the price of your cryopreservation drops down to $28,000. Some people think that the Lifetime Membership fee is too much of a commitment to make at first. So they "test drive" with an Yearly Membership, switching to Lifetime Membership when they feel ready.

Not if you have been a Yearly Member for many years. But you can apply any Yearly Membership dues payments that you have within the most recent year in converting to Lifetime Membership. In the first year, this will include the Initiation Fee, so your greatest savings happens if you convert from Yearly Membership to Lifetime Membership in the year that you join.

Not to CI. But if you charge your Membership to a credit card (VISA, MasterCard or American Express) you can make payments to your credit card service company in installments.

CI will attempt to maintain your pet or DNA sample indefinitely. There are no "pay-as-you-go" cryopreservation plans with the Cryonics Institute. You must have paid the Yearly Membership Initiation Fee and a full year's Yearly Membership Dues to cryopreserve a pet or tissue/DNA, but if you discontinue paying your dues, the costs of the cryopreservations have still been paid in full. See Pet Cryopreservation and DNA/tissue Storage for more details on these services.

Of course. We do ask one thing, though. If you ever do decide to leave, please — tell us why. The Cryonics Institute is determined to do the best job possible for our members, and to do that we need feedback from our members. Better yet, reach out to us before you should decide to leave - as a member, this is your organization and you have the ability to influence how CI operates.

Becoming a member of CI doesn't mean you have to undergo cryopreseration tomorrow — or ever. We have members who, for reasons of their own, don't intend to be cryopreserved, but who nonetheless are aware of the tremendous possibilities that cryonics has for extending human life and reducing human suffering, and some who are just simply fascinated by the theories behind it. And they support it, and us, by becoming members.

Cryonics doesn't consist of simply storing people, but of preparing them in a way so to minimize or eliminate freezing damage. First, the money goes towards giving you and patients like you proper initial preparation. Although several nanotechnology specialists argue that even "crude" freezing can successfully preserve brain tissue, common sense suggests that the less damage done by cryopreservation, the easier it will be to repair later on.

To that end a patient is prepared with anticoagulant, cooled as rapidly as possible, and is taken to facilities where a full perfusion can be performed ("perfusion" being the process of removing the patient's blood and replacing it with a cryoprotectant (anti-freeze) solution which keeps the body from being excessively damaged by ice formation during the course of cryopreservation).

Then the patient is gradually cooled in a cooling box, and finally placed in liquid nitrogen immersion at a temperature at which further deterioration is negligible. (For more details on our procedures, see Outline of CI Cryopreservation Procedures) On top of that, we have to have enough money to keep the patient supplied with liquid nitrogen and maintained in it for the foreseeable future.

Fortunately such maintenance isn't very complicated technically, or even terribly expensive. Far from it. It simply involves placing and keeping the patient in a container filled with liquid nitrogen. But even that requires a steady amount of money coming in, and coming in indefinitely. We attempt to do so, by investing the major amount of the fee. The return on those investments is intended to keep the patients supplied, and is also intended to covers the cost of personnel and overhead.

They buy a life insurance policy. You simply go to an insurance agent and tell him that you want a policy that, upon your "death", will pay the Cryonics Institute either $28,000 (Lifetime Member) or $35,000 (Yearly Member). Of course, this is just the CURRENT cost for minimal funding, and does not include cryonics standby, perfusion by trained perfusionists, and transportation to the Cryonics Institute — or allowance for future inflation, extra services, money for family or bequest to the Cryonics Institute. For those who wish to add the costs of Suspended Animation, Inc. and air ambulance, the minimum funding would be about $110,000.

In most cases the insurance to cover your cryopreservation fee is very affordable. Getting a much larger policy than you need is a good idea if you can afford it. It is additional "insurance" against future eventualities, such as additional services that may be offered at additional prices or if you decide to switch cryonics organizations. The future is unpredictable, and ample insurance is a good way to prepare for the unpredictable. Insurance companies typically don't offer policies in amounts less than $50,000 or $100,000.

Funding cryonics through an insurance policy has an additional benefit: it avoids probate. Even if you are very wealthy, the fact that an insurance policy pays immediately to the beneficiary without any probate delay or evaluation of your will and debts makes it a very advantageous way to fund cryonics.
If you can get an insurance policy for a larger amount (say $250,000) you can leave a portion (say 50%) to CI and the rest (say 50%) to a loved-one. Leaving extra insurance money to CI is an inexpensive way to be a benefactor of your cryonics organization. The more money CI has, the more secure you will be. In the future if you decide you want more or different cryonics coverage, you can change the percentages on your insurance policy just by calling your insurance agent, and informing the Cryonics Institute of the change.

The $28,000 (Lifetime Member) or $35,000 (Yearly Member) cryopreservation fees do not include Standby, meaning a team of cryonics employees standing by the bedside of a dying cryonicist so as to render immediate cooldown and cardiopulmonary support to minimize tissue injury when the heart stops. Standby is available for Cryonics Institute Members through insurance at extra cost from the Florida company Suspended Animation, which includes all "Local Help" costs. A $110,000 life insurance policy can pay for all the costs of the Cryonics Institute and of Suspended Animation to provide Standby, Transport, Perfusion, air ambulance and long-term storage — the complete package (but without provision for possible future price increases).

It is also possible to set an amount equal to the funding minimum into a guaranteed annuity. This enables growth averaging 5%, while still guaranteeing the amount invested and eliminating probate or risks of interferance from relatives.

But if you are wealthy — or have the cash at hand — you also have the option of pre-paying the money to CI. Money that is prepaid to the Cryonics Institute is held in a special savings (not checking) account which requires the signature of two Officer-Directors for withdrawal. The prepaid money is invested in T-Bills through a Treasury Direct account connected to the savings account. Although those who prepay do no receive interest from their prepaid funds, they do have the assurance that there will be no delays or questions associated with funding if the time comes when rapid cryonics rescue is required. The Cryonics Institute will refund any prepaid money to the CI Member within 30 days of the request for the refund.

The Cryonics Institute has not raised its prices since it was founded in 1976. Economies of scale and more efficient cryostats are part of the reason for this, and hopefully that process can continue. But CI gives no guarantee that prices will never be raised. In the future, CI might have no choice but to raise prices for self-protection. Members are advised to buy much more than the minimum insurance and to have a growing portfolio of equities (stocks). If there is hyperinflation, the dollar value of all assets may increase, including stock market prices. The money set aside for patient care might better deal with the risk inflation than Member insurance funding in this regard, because most patient care money is in equities or physical assets.

More generally, CI does not, of course, control the future and many possible events — war, natural disaster, economic collapse, and others could drastically affect CI and its patients. We can simply do the best we can to protect as much as we can against possible risks.

People who attempt wait until they are terminally ill before making cryonics arrangements in an attempt to save on Membership dues or who procrastinate changing insurance beneficiary most often don't get cryopreserved. They are often too ill to deal with complicated paperwork and they often do not have the time required to arrange a beneficiary (insurance companies move very slowly on these types of changes). You cannot buy a new life insurance policy if you are known to be terminally ill.

Unfortunately not. It may seem unreasonable, however there are significant risks involved that we cannot accept in the best interests of ourselves and our patients. You may die, you may get sick, you may become disabled, you may lose your income — or you may lose interest (it happens). Cryonics organizations cannot risk the lives of their patients by adopting financially risky means of funding. More critically, we do not want to be put into the moral and ethical dilemma of having to potentially remove a patient from cryopreservation.

Please try to understand. The Cryonics Institute has done a great deal to keep prices affordable. Cryonics would not even exist without the volunteer work and efforts of our Officers and Staff. We hope to see a day when cryopreservation is available to anyone who wants it. But — right now — that's not case. At present we have an obligation and a duty to those patients in cryostasis that we have to care for, and that unfortunately involves expenses and overhead. We can't pay for the resources to keep a patient alive if we don't have income. If we tried, we'd fail — and we'd lose everyone.

As a sobering example of this risk, nearly thirty-five years ago there is the case of a cryonics organization failing. Over a dozen people in suspension were thawed, and died, irrevocably. This happened because the providers took on charity cases, and cases in which family members agreed to pay the costs of maintaining a patient on a year-by-year basis — and then changed their minds, and didn't. Without a revenue source, the organization ultimately could no longer afford the expenses involved and had to shut down its operations.

This was the only case in history of a cryonics organization failing, and that tragedy immediately affected every subsequent cryonics organization, forcing them to make absolutely certain of their financially stablility. Since then, not one provider has ever closed its doors or lost a single patients. There aren't many businesses that can claim no business failures whatsoever in its entire field for a solid quarter of a century. But cryonics can.

What's particularly cruel is that precisely those people most in need of cryonics services — the ill, the elderly, the dying — are also those least likely to get life insurance, and most likely to have their property and life savings drained away by common and ultimately futile medical procedures. We at the Cryonics Institute have done everything possible to get the best of both worlds — to make our organization financially rock-solid, and to make prices as low as we can possibly offer. But we simply can't offer those services for nothing.

Quite simply, arranging for cryonic suspension is a process, and any process takes time.

Arranging a cryonic suspension is not a snap decision or an instant process, so you need to prepare, to plan and to make all the necessary arrangements in advance. It's critical to remember the window of time required between legal death and successful cryonic suspension is very limited. Like a medical emergency, any delays can mean the difference between life and death so it is vital to have all of your legal, financial, standby, transport and other arrangements in place before your passing.

The very worst thing we see, time and again, is the tragedy of people who were interested in joining, or thinking about joining, or leaning towards joining, but who put it off until it was too late. Then their wife or mother or child are in critical condition, or they've had an accident and it looks as though they're not going to make it, and they call us at the last minute to try to arrange a cryopreservation. And much as we want to — we simply can't help them. Because we don't know a thing about the person on the other end of the line. It could be someone making a prank call. It's happened. The caller could claim to be able to pay, and not be able to, and leave us — and our patients and members — stuck.

But worst of all, if we walk in sight unseen, we could be laying our organization in for untold legal problems. What if someone calls us in to cryopreserve his wife, and it turns out they're not married but only living together, and her parents are violently opposed to cryonics? We could easily be sued. And that could threaten all our patients and all of our members. We can't and won't take that chance. If someone calls in an emergency situation and is not a member, sometimes we are able to help, but more often we cannot.

Remember: becoming a member doesn't force you to be cryopreserved, it only allows you to make arrangements with us to do so, if you want. Membership has its own rewards — informational, social, and charitable. You can change your mind about being a Member and quit anytime you please.

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