Re: Cryonics and organ donation

From: Robert Bradbury (
Date: Fri Apr 07 2000 - 14:16:08 MDT

On Fri, 7 Apr 2000, Sarah Marr wrote:

> 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?

Sarah, if you are young, the cost of term life insurance (for say 10 years)
is *very* cheap, probably a few $ a month. Well worth investigating
as a cryonics "safety-net" until you are earning money. The question
to ask yourself is whether your life is worth one or two movies a month?

> Re: Organ donors & Cryonics --

> 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.

I've thought quite a bit about this, and am not in favor of these options.
Supporting the organ donor process as it exists today, IMO, raises
several potential concerns.

Many people go for the head-only suspension (assuming they are going to
get new organs as you suggest). I do not like that option. The reason is
that to reconnect a spinal cord to a body is going to require a *lot* of
neural crosswiring and/or mental retraining to move various body parts,
get feedback from the right nerves back to the brain, etc. Organ regrowth
is probably going to be *easy* compared with the brain-body rewiring
of muscles and senses headache. Think of what happens if they get
your index fingers connected to those brain areas responsible for sensing
pleasurable genital stimulations... "I'm sorry officer, I can't sign
that ticket because every time I do that I have an orgasm, I'm sure
you understand..."

The second problem I see with supporting "natural" organ donation is
that it potentially serves as a disincentive for the scientific
breakthroughs needed to grow real live new replacement organs from
your own stem cells. If the current need for organs were met (say by
mandatory organ donation policies), then there would be a much
lower return-on-investment for people who want to develp lab-grown
or pig-grown organs.

The third and most significant problem is that if "natural" organ
donation were to become a relatively inexpensive surgury and the
rejection problems were to be overcome, that would provide the
"donor promoter" organizations with more ammunition for *mandatory*
organ donations, meaning cryonics patients would not have the option
of avoiding the tangled neuron connection mess outlined above.
If you are going to have *mandated* organ donations, then the estate
(or frozen head) of the patient should be compensated for that (since
presumably you aren't *really* dead yet) as while you are, "on ice"
so to speak, someone has borrowed the use of your organs. When
you are reanimated, can you request that they be returned? Perhaps
with interest?


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:09:07 MDT