CI’s primary service is Cryogenic Preservation (vitrification) of a person’s body at the time they have been declared legally dead, with the objective of future revival. It is important to understand that we consider legal death distinct from absolute final death, which can be best defined by the principle of information theoretic death. Cryonics operates on the premise that conditions today’s doctors consider beyond rescue have a very high probability of being treatable and reversible by tomorrow's doctors. Trends in technology almost certainly guarantee that the doctors of the future will have access to vastly superior technology and will have perfected techniques for repairing and restoring the human body that we can only imagine today. Consider this: only 100 years ago, if someone had no heartbeat or respiration the universally-accepted medical standards of the day declared that person legally dead. Those unfortunate people would certainly not be considered “beyond all hope” by modern standards. Today, CPR, defibrillators, and medications have changed the definition of when life starts and ends, and what were previously thought to be “hopeless” cases are now routinely revived. Technology doesn’t stand still and neither will our current definition of “legal death.”
Cryonics is our ambulance ride to the high-tech hospital we’re confident will exist in the near future, with medical technology and equipment that will be able to successfully revive persons who were considered “hopeless” or “deceased” by today’s standards.
MAKING ARRANGEMENTS FOR CRYONIC SUSPENSION
Human Cryostasis requires signup as a Lifetime or Yearly Member of the Cryonics Institute (CI). Yearly Members must be fully paid for no less than one year, ie, have paid $120 yearly dues plus the initial $75 initiation fee for a full year's Membership. Please note, as a membership-based and directed organization, we do not accept cryosuspension contracts from non-members. Membership does not obligate a person in any way to a Suspension Agreement, however it is the prerequisite for contracting any of CI’s cryostasis services. The reason for our policy is to insure all patients, as full members, have an equal voice in the operations and policies of the organization they have chosen for their cryopreservation arrangements.
SUSPENSIONS ARE SURPRISINGLY AFFORDABLE
Once a person is accepted as a Cryonics Institute member they can choose to arrange a Suspension Agreement with CI. The cost of perpetual cryonic suspension for a Lifetime Member is $28,000 and is often funded through traditional life insurance for the price of that policy. According to MET life, a typical 30 year old person can receive $250,000 for as little as $16 / month or just $4 a week. Last-minute cases (if accepted) and yearly members pay a slightly higher fee of $35,000.
PRE-PLANNING IS ESSENTIAL
People interested in cryonic preservation are strongly encouraged to sign up in advance in order to provide for logistic planning, establish financing and to complete all the necessary paperwork. Our goal is to provide the best possible suspensions to our members, therefore pre-planning is essential. Cryonics is not a situation that allows for “do-overs,” and unfortunately, even with the best efforts, last-minute suspension arrangements do not always work out. For this reason, we strongly urge advance membership arrangements, review and completion of all necessary contracts and other preplanning to ensure optimum suspensions. (Please see our emergency situations page to review situations where we cannot accept a patient as an unplanned, or last-minute suspension.)
What specifically does this $28,000 price include? This cost includes state-of-the-art cryonic preservation preparations and procedures, perpetual maintenance, oversight and upkeep including the expense of liquid nitrogen. There are no additional upkeep or maintenance fees involved - all vitrification and permanent preservation costs are covered up front. Less then $8,000 goes to the actual initial preservation procedure, and to cover long-term care costs, the remaining $20,000 goes into very stable long-term investments. The interest on these investments pays for the perpetual upkeep and overhead required to keep a patient suspended indefinitely until technology advances to the point where successful revival in a young and healthy state is possible. Operating as a non-profit, CI’s investments are modeled much like a perpetual endowment fund.
Upon completion of documents, acceptance of membership, and after proper funding has been approved, CI will accept the patient for suspension. For a well-planned suspension, the time between the initial agreement and one's eventual suspension (after legal death) is best used planning for standby and the other critical details and arrangements needed to immediately stabilize the patient, expedite transport and ensure a quality suspension. [see guide] One of the chief reasons CI strongly discourages last-minute applications (and in some cases will not even be able to accept the patient) is that these critical preparations necessarily take time. A last minute case risks trying to force the entire process through a very short window of time which will most likely result in complications and delays that can potentially degrade the quality of the suspension. Our intent is always to maintain the integrity and quality of our patients' suspensions, therefore, we are understandably required to have strict policies in place to ensure that. To avoid complications, and the possibility of actually being rejected as a patient, advance planning and preparation is absolutely essential.
CI’S CRYOPRESERVATION PROCEDURE
Once a patient has been stabilized locally and ultimately transported to our Michigan facility, CI will then perform vascular washout and perfuse the patient with CI-VM-1, our vitrification formula. CI-VM-1 is a state of the art preservation agent that was developed for CI by cryobiologist Dr. Yuri Pichugin to be easy to use, formulate, and with low toxicity for use as a vitrification agent. This protects against ice crystal formation during the cooling process. It is essentially a biological antifreeze similar to what is used to preserve human embryos, sperm or eggs at cryogenic temperatures. The patient is then carefully cooled all the way down to LN2 temperatures using our computer controlled cooling box. After this, the patient is moved into long-term cryogenic storage (cryostats) to await future medical advancements and eventual revival.
HIGHEST QUALITY AT THE MOST AFFORDABLE COST
CI's prices are the most affordable in the industry. We are non profit and the majority of our staff (including elected Officers and Directors) are volunteers. We are extremely cost conservative, accounting for every penny we spend and insuring we get the maximum value for ourselves and our fellow members. We are singularly focused on our mission and do not deviate from our primary concern. That being - preserving human life as effectively and affordably as possible. Every penny we save is money that comes back to us as members to fund our own personalized local standby or to extend the promise of cryonic suspension to family and friends.
Members are encouraged to over-fund in excess of the required minimums or to donate to CI. While CI has never raised its prices since our inception in 1976, we do encourage members to over-fund their suspensions to help make CI stronger and to help ensure our organization’s long term viability, which is obviously in our collective best interest. Excess funding can also be used to cover expenses such as local help and shipping from funeral directors. These services are not included in CI's standard Suspension Agreement, therefore over-funding also helps to ensure the patient’s family is not saddled with unforeseen funeral home or shipping expenses.
We also believe in giving our members the maximum control over how their excess funding or savings are allocated. Members can choose to spend the money they save with CI on Suspended Animation Inc’s advance remote standby team or set up their own personalized, decentralized standby solution with a local funeral director. CI does not force its members into a one-size-fits-all package. Our members reside all over the world and we understand that maximum flexibility in making one’s own emergency arrangements makes logical sense. Our goal is to ensure arrangements can be tailored locally to fit the unique circumstances of each individual member.
INTEGRITY, SECURITY AND TRUST
The Father of Cryonics himself, Robert CW Ettinger chose CI for his own suspension, as well as for members of his family. This comes as no surprise, considering Ettinger founded CI with these very objectives and principles in mind - to provide the highest quality cryonic suspensions available for the most reasonable and affordable price possible. His intent, and ours, has never been to “get rich” by turning huge profits, but rather to create and maintain a durable organization and financial infrastructure built to last until the promise of reviving our patients becomes a reality. This was our founder's stated goal from day one, and it remains our exclusive mission today.