Understanding Cryonics - Part 2 - Vitrification & Storage - Page 2
So what exactly happens to a cryo-subject once their heart stops? I thought you’d never ask! An emergency response team of skilled cryotechnicians from whichever cryofacility the subject signed on with, rushes to the recently deceased and begins the preliminary vitrification process. At this stage, they maintain oxygen and blood flow through the body (simulating life support) until the body can be brought to the cryofacility for complete vitrification. The body is packed in ice and injected with large doses of heparin (an anticoagulant) which prevents the blood from clotting while in transport. A team of skilled cry biologists is waiting once the team arrives at the facility with the new subject and they commence the complete vitrification process, preparing the body for storage.
The vitrification procedure takes about four hours as all of the water is delicately removed from the subject body and replaced with glycerol-based cryoprotectant. Once that process is complete, the body is cooled on a bed of dry ice until it’s core temperature reaches a balmy -130C (-202 F), thereby completing the vitrification process. Next, the subject (either whole body, or just the head) are placed into an individual container which is then lowered into a bigger stainless steel tank upside down, Bodies are placed in the cryotanks upside down in the even the tank leaks, the brain will remain protected longest.
Neurosuspension clients are simply set to rest at the very bottom of the tanks, which hare filled with liquid nitrogen at a temperature of about -196 C (-320 F) for long term storage and preservation. Additional liquid nitrogen is occasionally added to replace the minute quantities that are lost due to evaporation. Each of the large Stainless steel tanks is capable of supporting 4 whole-body suspension subjects, and 6 neurosuspension subjects simultaneously.
As you might have imagined by now, subscribing to a cryofacility isn’t a cheap undertaking. Some facilities used to charge a monthly fee of about $400, but over time, family members die, or forget, or estates and trusts dry up, leaving the facility to hold the bag for the rest of…well…for a very long time. As a result, most facilities now charge a flat rate of around $200,000 for a whole body suspension and about $50,000 to preserve only the head and brain. A $500 annual membership is also required during the life of the subject at many such facilities to offset administrative costs associated with being ready for the subject’s legal death. Additional fees are also incurred depending on where the subject is at the time of legal death, and how far the emergency response team needs to travel to retrieve the body and transport it to the storage facility.Continued on the next page