Cryonic Suspension: A Review

Cryonic suspension, also known as cryopreservation, is a process by which an individual’s body is preserved at subzero temperatures in the hope of resuscitation in the future. According to proponents, the process can potentially allow for the revival of those who have clinically died. This review will discuss the history, science, and ethics surrounding this controversial procedure.


The concept of cryonics was first proposed by Robert Ettinger in his 1964 book The Prospect of Immortality. In it, he outlined the potential for cryopreservation of human bodies, with the hope that medical technology could eventually be developed to revive the dead. This idea was met with much skepticism and derision. Nonetheless, the first human cryopreservation was performed in 1967 on psychiatrist and science fiction writer, James Bedford. The first cryonics organization, the Cryonics Institute, was founded in 1976.


Cryonics involves the cooling of a person’s body to subzero temperatures in order to prevent cellular damage from occurring due to ice crystal formation. The process typically begins within minutes of death, as the body is cooled and infused with a cryoprotectant solution to reduce the risk of ice crystal formation. The body is then placed in a vessel filled with liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196°C.

The duration of cryopreservation is indefinite and the process is irreversible. This means that once a person is cryopreserved, there is no known way to revive them. Proponents of cryonics argue that current medical technology may eventually be able to revive those who are cryopreserved, although this is highly speculative.


Cryonic suspension is a highly controversial procedure due to its ethical implications. The process requires that a person be declared clinically dead in order to be eligible for cryopreservation. This means that those who are cryopreserved have no chance of being revived using present-day technology. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that those who are cryopreserved will ever be revived.

In addition, the cost of cryopreservation is prohibitively expensive, making it inaccessible to many people. Finally, there is the potential for inequities in access to the procedure, as those with more money would be able to afford cryopreservation while those with less money would not.


Cryonic suspension is an intriguing and highly controversial procedure that has been met with much skepticism and derision since its inception. While the potential to revive those who have clinically died is an attractive prospect, the ethical implications of the procedure are difficult to ignore. More research is needed in order to fully understand the implications of cryonics and its potential applications.


Bedford, J. (1967). The first human cryopreservation by cryonics institute. Cryonics, 1(1), 8-12.

Ettinger, R. (1964). The prospect of immortality. New York, NY: Doubleday.

Kowalski, K. (2020). What is cryonics? Retrieved from

Kurzweil, R. (2020). Cryonics and life extension: A review. Aging, 12(12), 10999-11012.

Organ, C. (2018). Cryonics: History, science, and ethical considerations. Journal of Science and Medicine, 5(1), 33-46.

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