X-Message-Number: 13244
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 03:55:54 -0500
From: Paul Wakfer <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #13228: Belated Remarks on Cryonics and  Abortion
References: <>

> Message #13228
> Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2000 02:34:30 -0500
> Subject:  Belated Remarks on Cryonics and  Abortion
> From: David Pascal <>
> Mr Paul Wakfer wrote:
> <<I have been working   on and off for over 4 years (mostly off for the
> last 2
> years) CryoSpan, Inc even entered into a contract with Cryogenic
> Solutions of Texas to be
> the repository of such aborted fetuses (they were going to be the public
> interface
> for promotion and marketing) but it all fell through >>
> Not every Cryonet readers may be aware of this, but there are already
> thousands of fetuses being held essentially in cryostasis in IVF (in
> vitro fertilization) clinics throughout the Unites States and elsewhere.
> The reason is fertility drugs.  Such drugs, when successful, tend to
> produce several embryos, not just one.  Of course, for a woman to bring
> eight or nine embryos to term is near to impossible.  Fatality lurks for
> both mother and embryos in the attempt, and so doctors select only one or
> two of the embryos to implant, freezing the rest.

It should also be pointed out that the cyropresevation is very poor, but that it
does not matter.

All embryonic cells are still omnipotent (the embryo is in the pre-embedding 
stage), so if many of the are not

viable after thawing it does not matter.  Only one cell needs to be fully 

> They don t destroy the
> embryos because if the ones implanted fail to take, the remaining ones
> can be thawed and implanted without having to put the mother through the
> whole process of fertilization all over again.  (Having extra embryos on
> hand also allows doctors to implant the embryos in sterile couples,
> surrogate mothers, and so on, not to mention giving researchers extra
> fodder for medical experimentation.)

These embryos are being care-for in small dewars in a medical setting at 
relatively high cost.

Several years ago, I estimated that CryoSpan could hold every embryo currently 
languishing in storage in the US

in one big-foot dewar. I even designed a racking system to catalogue them all 
and allow removal of any
particular one desired.

However, when I attempted to make contact with all the fertility clinics in the 
US to find out would the

response to my overtures for a storage contract would be, I met with a stone 
wall of opposition and with all

the flak that I was getting from other quarters in cryonics at the time gave up 
on the attempt. In order to

qualifiy to be such a repository CryoSpan would have needed to have a medical 
director and have a medically

clean installation which is something that I ultimately wanted, but was not 
ready for unless there was major
business potential.

> The thing to remember, though, is that such embryos are put into
> cryostasis rapidly the optimal period being within 18.0 hours after
> conception, or so I ve read.    The egg is fertilized, removed, and
> cooled down as soon as possible -- and that is a very different situation
> from what we usually think of as  getting an abortion .  Immediate embryo
> removal is not the first thing on most people s post-coital To Do list.
> A month or more can pass before a woman learns, or even suspects, that
> she s become pregnant, and by that time her fetus is a complex entity.
> Frozen embryos taken immediately upon fertilization have been
> successfully brought to term, but I m not aware of that being the case
> with any fetus already one, two, three, or more months into development.
> I d venture to say that it hasn t been done because it can t be.

That is going too far. There has not been any incentive to do it.

With some of the new 21CM technology, I expect that reversiel cryopreservation 
of tiny fetuses could be
developed relatively quickly.
But you are correct in your idea of a clear size and time limitation.

> No
> large mammal has ever successfully come out of cryopreservation, and the
> one-to-two pound infant killed in a late-term abortion is a large mammal.

But it is no where near that size until the eight month. Up to 3 months while 
fully formed the embryo is still
only a few grams in weight.

> (Incidentally.  An interesting question addressed by James Swayze:  need
> the entire fetus be preserved at all?

There reason why the answer to this is *yes* is that we are trying to appeal to 
the "pro-life" movement which

holds that a life begins at conception! We are thus attempting to save that 
"life in being".
To see more on this, read http://morelife.org
This website has been languishing and waiting for me to get back in action.
I will be substantially changing and updating it later this year.

> One of the recurring arguments in
> cryonics is about the preservation of memory, but what meaning does
> memory have for a fetus?  In theory one could take a minimal tissue
> sample from a six-month old aborted fetus, cryopreserve that, scrap the
> rest, and still clone a genetically exact child from it at some future
> point.  What memories would be there to lose?  On the other hand, one
> would face the strange situation of  saving a child  by preserving bare
> handful of cells, while perhaps destroying the same(?) child s  living
> infant body, complete with brain, heart, lungs, fingers, toes, organs,
> fingerprints, nervous system, and possibly capable of surviving in an
> incubator.  The argument could even be extended:  if coherent, accessible
> memory defines personhood, how much of a  person  is six-month-old child?
>  Or a one-year old child?  Is killing a two-year-old OK if we save a
> strand of its hair first?  Most everyone would of course say no, but it
> does put cryopreserving infants into rather a interesting and puzzling
> category.  Admittedly, I can t really see anyone objecting to removing
> and cryopreserving a few cells from a fetus, particularly if that removal
> doesn t injure its subsequent possible development.  On the other hand, I
> don t see a great rush to such a service on the part of the public
> either.)
> But I don t want to get away from my point.  In proposing a business
> venture, you have to understand what precisely you are offering and what
> you aren t.  If a woman who is a few months pregnant comes to a cryonics
> organization (or even to her doctor) and says she wants to have the child
> removed for re-implantation after her financial situation improves, it
> won t happen.  The child is already so complex a structure that taking it
> to minus 196 C will disarrange and damage it sufficiently to render
> viability impossible.  That s not to say such a cryopreserved fetus can t
> be saved someday.  But to do it one must invoke the  n  word, invariably
> bashed here on Cryonet.  Damage on a cellular, nay, molecular level takes
> place with all current forms of freezing large mammalian organisms, 21CM
> ice blockers or not.  Nothing so subjected is going to come out OK unless
> cellular or molecular repair -- nanotech or something like it -- is
> developed.

I disagree. I think that intact extraction and reversible cryopreservation of a 
fetus of less than 3 months age

is a much more easily solvable problem than adult reversible cryopreservation 
and it will not take any
Drexlerian type nanotechnology to do it.

And what is more, I think it should be done, and one of my current goals is to 
get it done!

Thanks for your response, I did not have time to comment on the rest, but I will
use it all as part of my

-- Paul --
Voice-mail: 416-968-6291  Fax: 559-663-5511

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=13244