Inside Alcor: the valley based cryogenics facility

Last year, the Alcor Life Extension Foundation preserved a record number of people, or what they call patients. The cryonics facility has members young and old; some from Arizona, and many others from around the country and globe. 

All who sign up to become members of Alcor hope that future technology will someday figure out a way to bring their frozen bodies back to life.

Garrett Herschleb never leaves his home without a particular bracelet.

"It says if you find me dead, put me on ice, and call this number," said Garrett Herschleb.

When Garrett dies, he will be cryopreserved, his brain frozen in liquid nitrogen until science discovers a way to revive him.

"People think when you die you're dead, that's not the way it is at all," said Dr. Max More, CEO of Alcor.

Dr. Max More is the President of Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale. Alcor has members from all over the globe as old as 101-years-old, and as young as 2.5-years-old, like a little Thai girl who recently died from brain cancer. More says the process of cryopreserving, is solidly backed by science.

"It's been done successfully with a rabbit kidney that's been cryopreserved, it was re implanted in the rabbit, and it functioned," said More.

More calls Alcor an extension of emergency medicine, starting the moment a person is pronounced dead and is placed in an ice bath.

"Basically restarting breathing, restarting circulation, we're also running cold water over the head because we want to cool the brain," he said.

Next, blood is replaced with medical grade antifreeze; the patients temperature is slowly dropped below 100-degree celsius.

"Rather than freezing we're vitrifying which is the forming of this resinous glass material," said More.

All 135 of Alcor's patients are stored inside drawers in one room. About 1/3 have chosen to have their whole body preserved; 2/3 have chosen to be neuro patients, preserving just their head.

"You're going to end up in this container, and that will be filled with liquid nitrogen, and you'll be secured with that," he said.

Inside these giant thermoses, patients are preserved indefinitely, and can even be joined by their pets.

"We currently only offer that to members the idea being that you want someone to take care of them when they come back," said More.

Some plan to bring their family back, too. More's wife will join him at Alcor. And Garrett's wife, well that is another story.

"She thinks I'm pretty crazy; she thinks oh yeah, whatever," said Herschleb.

Alcor makes no guarantee about future revival. But for some, the thought of a go at another life, is promise enough.

"I think of it as grasping at straws, but even a small chance is better than no chance," he said.

Alcor charges about $200,000 to preserve your whole body, and $80,000 to preserve just your head. Alcor says most members pay with life insurance money. If you're single and want to be cryopreserved, there's a convention in Las Vegas to help you find a similar minded soul mate.
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