Cryonics and organ donation

From: Sarah Marr (
Date: Fri Apr 07 2000 - 02:28:08 MDT

        There are two things I need to do: sign up for cryonic suspension and get
an organ donor card. I can do the latter today, and the former in a few
years, when/if I'm earning money. So, the question is: how compatible is
organ donation with cryonics?

        As things stand, I think I'm right in saying, a successful revival from
cryonic freezing will require nanotech. I would suggest that a world with
nanotech advanced enough to undo the damage of freezing would be a world in
which compatible replacement organs could be grown from scratch, in situ.
So, if I died tomorrow, I can't see any reason why I shouldn't be
philanthropically Extropian and extend the life of a few other people with
my (hopefully healthy) organs.

        On the other hand, if a freezing/reviving procedure is developed in which
somatic damage is nil, and thus nanotech is not a prerequisite, then the
answer is different. In this case, for example, a cure for the disease from
which I die may turn up a year later, long before nanotech is viable, and so
it would be rather important, for a quick revival, that I still had all my
internal organs. (Actually, in this case there is a question of strength of
belief involved: if one is convinced that nanotech will develop and allow
regrowth of removed organs at some point, one could still donate, as long as
one is prepared to wait a little longer for revival.)

        Has anyone else on the list thought about this question? As things stand,
in the absence of a 'perfect' freezing/revival mechanism, I cannot see any
reason not to carry a donor card. This position is presumably supported by
all those who have opted for head-only cryonic suspension.

        From the perspective of the cryonics service providers (Alcor et al.), are
they in a position to work alongside the teams removing organs, to begin
procedures ensuring a minimum of neurological damage? Also, would the
removal of organs, and the subsequent disruption to systemic organs (lymph,
circulatory, etc.) interfere with the cryo-preservation procedure?


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