Cryonics organisations

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Overview of organisations associated with cryonics.


The Alcor Life Extension Foundation is a Scottsdale, Arizona based nonprofit cryonics company. Incorporated in 1972 as the 'Alcor Society for Solid State Hypothermia' by Fred and Linda Chamberlain, Alcor is currently the largest cryonics company in the world.

Alcor's first cryopreservation took place in 1976 on A-1001, Fred Chamberlain's father. Initially, provided long term storage until 1982.

File:Alcor patient care.jpg
The Alcor Patient Care Bay in 1987. Pictured are the Cephalarium, an upright MVE, and James Bedford's Galiso dewar (Right, horizontal, barely visible). Photo by Mike Darwin.
File:Alcor patient care2.jpg
The Alcor Patient Care Bay today. Hugh Hixon refills a dewar while Mike Perry observes. Photo by Murray Ballard.
The building of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation

Alcor Criticism

[...] Saul Kent invited me over to his home in Woodcrest, California to view videotapes of two Alcor cases which troubled him – but he couldn’t quite put his finger on why this was so.[...] Patients were being stabilized at a nearby hospice, transported to Alcor (~20 min away) and then CPS was discontinued, the patients were placed on the OR table and, without any ice on their heads, they were allowed to sit there at temperatures a little below normal body temperature for 1 to 1.5 hours, while burr holes were drilled, [...] smoke could be seen coming from the burr wound! Since the patient had no circulation to provide blood to carry away the enormous heat generated by the action of the burr on the bone, the temperature of the underlying bone (and brain) must have been high enough to literally cook an egg. In one case, a patient’s head was removed in the field and, because they had failed to use a rectal plug, the patient had defecated in the PIB. The result was that feces had contaminated the neck wound, and Alcor personnel were seen pouring saline over the stump of the neck whilst holding the patient’s severed head over a bucket trying to wash the fecal matter off the stump. These are just a few of the grotesque problems I observed.[...] - Mike Darwin[1]

Cryonics Institute

The Cryonics Institute is the second largest cryonics organization, a member-owned non-profit; incorporated in Michigan on the 4th of April of 1976 by Robert Ettinger, Mae Junod (Later Mae Ettinger) and Walter Runkel. Only two cryopreservations took place in its first two decades (Both Ettinger's family).

The old Detroit facility in 1987. Photo by Mike Darwin.
The Cryonics Institute's current location, the Erfurt-Runkel Building.

CI Criticism

Robert Ettinger believed complex perfusion to ensure excellent cryopreservation was not worth the effort, that future technology would eventually find a way to repair any damage. Because of this, he decided to charge a fraction of the cost of other organizations for basic perfusion and long term care. Ettinger claimed that "anything that has existed, can exist"[2], meaning that it can exist again if sufficiently advanced technology is developed.

Robert Ettinger, founder of the cryonics movement, claims that "anything that has existed, can exist", meaning that it can exist again. For an unbounded optimist, this would mean that even a cremated person whose ashes have been scattered on the seas could conceivably be reconstructed. In this view, technology beyond our conception could gather enough evidence to reconstruct, atom-for-atom, human beings who vanished hundreds or thousands of years in the past. [...] Ettinger's Michigan-based Cryonics Institute offers suspensions for nearly a quarter of the cost of the California organizations, in part because Ettinger believes that costly perfusion procedures are unnecessary, relying more on future technology repair capabilities.[...] - Ben Best[3]

This unreasonable optimism has been the source of criticism[4] and is the basis of their decision to accept deceased non-Members signed up by their families, even after hours of warm ischemia. These patients now constitute the majority of CI cases and are only straight frozen.<ref="Darwin's CI criticism"></ref>

Basically I was commenting on the operational paradigm at CI, which is pretty much “ritual.” You sign up, you get frozen and it’s pretty much kumbaya, no matter how badly things go. And they go pretty badly. Go to: and start reading the case reports posted there. That’s pretty much my working definition of horrible. It seems apparent to me that “just getting frozen” is now all that is necessary for a ticket to tomorrow, and that anything else that is done is “just gravy,” and probably unnecessary to a happy outcome.


Even in cases that CI perfuses, things go horribly wrong – often – and usually for to me bizarre and unfathomable (and careless) reasons. My dear friend and mentor Curtis Henderson was little more than straight frozen because CI President Ben Best had this idea that adding polyethylene glycol to the CPA solution would inhibit edema. - Mike Darwin<ref="Darwin's CI criticism">

Another criticism of the Cryonics Institute is their submission to the State of Michigan's decision that CI was a cemetery and could thus no longer perform perfusion on site. Because of this cryoprotectant perfusion has to be done by a cooperative funeral direction, and in most cases these are found on the moment and are not properly trained or equipped. Instead of appealing this decision, they accepted it and surrendered control of the patients to the state, unlike Alcor which has been engaged in a variety of legal disputes, to the point of making cryonics legal in California.

Cecryon Europe

The Cecryon Europe Center is the third-largest cryonics organization and the first one in Europe incorporated in 2020 by Jose Tapia.

CryoCare Equipment Corporation

Trans Time

According to CI, they have 'has one whole body and two brains'. According to the Daily News of Los Angeles, as of 1990, they have 'five human bodies, two heads and one brain in its main cold suspension capsule'. A second article claims 'has frozen five human bodies, three severed heads, four dogs and three cats'. A 2001 article claims TT no longer has any human patients (Where did they move them? (Other than CI) --Eudoxia 17:08, 17 July 2012 (CDT)).

File:Foote and Trans Time article.jpg
A newspaper article that lists TT patients before 1980. From the Anchorage Daily News, February 10, 1980.
The old Trans Time facility.
The new Trans Time facility.

TT Criticism

The principal criticism against Trans Time was their for-profit model, in which, if funding ran out, the patients would be thawed and conventionally interred (This is what would've happened to Janice Foote and the Mills couple), unlike other organizations with a pay-once model in which the storage costs for the patients are covered for perpetuity.

Cryonics Society of California

Founded in 1966 by TV-repairman-turned-<redacted> Robert Nelson, CSC carried out the first human cryopreservation, before cryopreserving twelve others and letting the bodies to rot in a cementery.

Nelson had apparently run out of money to maintain the patients in liquid nitrogen, but payed his attorney by selling his Porsche.[5]

In an interview in The Immortalist he stated he was a CI member.

Apparently he tried to start a new cryonics venture, The Continued Life Group. They seem to have had a site, but its existence was only confirmed once and it's not up, and nor does the Web Archive keep copies of it.

There really is no need for a criticism section.

American Cryonics Society



Minnesota Valley Engineering

MVE was a cryogenics company located in New Prague, Minnesota. They manufactured tanks for cryogenic storage of bull semen for the Minnesota Valley Breeders Association. Edward Schuster, the founder and main stockholder, got in touch with Curtis Henderson near a cryobiology conference in 1967. Schuster said he wanted to build tanks, but did not have the tools (At the time, the only Liquid Nitrogen dewars for the storage of human bodies were the CryoCare Equipment Corporation ones, which required constant mechanical pumping to maintain a vacuum).

After purchasing Hoffmann Cryogenics, Schuster was able to build the A-8000. Some of these tanks have been in continuous operation since the 1960s, for example at 21st Century Genetics in New Prague.

Suspended Animation

Alcor vs CI

Comparison of Services
Alcor Cryonics Inst
  • Whole Body Patient: $200,000
  • Neuropatient: $80,000

(Through life insurance)

  • Whole Body Patient (Lifetime Member): $28,000
  • Whole Body Patient (Yearly Member): $35,000

(Through life insurance)

Members 968 488
Patients 111 111
Patients Lost 0 0
  • Standby
  • Stabilization & Transport
  • Perfusion
  • Long Term Care
  • Perfusion
  • Long Term Care
Non-profit? Yes Yes
Incorporated 1972 1976
Staff 11 3
Yearly Fees $620 $120
Statistics: Members

(Note that CI considers people who have cryopreserved pets or DNA as members. People with cryonics arrangements are a separate category.)

Ideal Cryonics Organization

  • Procedures
    • Only trained medical professionals are allowed to do perfusions.
  • Outreach and Openness
    • Webcams on 24/7 in both the Patient Care Bay and the Procedures Room.
    • Extensive documentation of every case and every variable and video records of the procedures, published online.
    • Guided tours of the facility explaining every part of the procedure, discussing possibilities of revival, showing the dewars of the Patient Care Bay, how patients are arranged in them, explanations of current research being done, et cetera.
    • Inviting medical professionals and public officials to witness all the procedures for themselves.
  • Research
    • Sizeable part of the budget dedicated towards lowering cryoprotectant toxicity, developing new solutions, et cetera.
  • Facilities
    • Solar array or other energy collectors for energy independence.
    • Equipment for Nitrogen liquefaction, and power for the same.
    • Dewars
      • Bigfoot or larger stored in CryoSpan-style reinforced concrete silos.
      • Fire and blast proofing around the Patient Care Bay.
      • Reopen the neurovaults.


  1. 1.0 1.1 A visit to alcor
  2. Ben Best. The Permafrost Papers. Link.
  4. Link.
  5. Hope on Ice. LA Times Magazine, January 2010. Link.