X-Message-Number: 23077
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2003 20:04:19 -0500
Subject: Alcor Cell Storage Re 23062

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Alcor's cell storage policies were posted by Mike Perry.  He quotes
Tanya Jones, Alcor's chief operating officer, as writing:

>To my knowledge, no one at Alcor believes a twin is an adequate 
>representation of a person who lived, loved, learned and eventually was 
>cryopreserved. We'll save the limited representation of a cell sample, if 
>that is all that can be saved, but we prefer much greater 
>completeness--there should at least be substantial brain structure

This implies that I advocated a later-born twin as being "an adequate
representation" of someone.  I simply argued that it was a "possible
representation" for those of us who may not survive suspension.

More importantly, I argued that a later-born twin would be a great advocate
for the suspended twin in the hustle and bustle of the future when revival
might have become possible.

>Again, to be "signed 
>up for cryopreservation" with Alcor it is not sufficient merely to have 
>arrangements to store a cell sample.

I gather being signed up for cryopreservation involves taking out a life
insurance policy and making substantial monthly payments.  After doing this, 
one pays a $100 application fee and agrees to $398.00 in annual dues.

Charges for Neurosuspension alone are $50,000, for Whole Body

Suspension you pay $120,000. and for Neurosuspension with Whole Body Suspension
you pay $150,000.

If you are a non-member, there is an additional $25,000 surcharge.
There is a $15,000 surcharge for members residing in the United Kingdom.

If that isn't daunting enough, remote standby charges can range from
$300-$3,000 daily.

Cryonics, like diamonds and limousines, is not something for the common man.
In fact, I suspect those mocking Alcor would be astounded that its members
put this kind of money on the line.  You don't do that unless you are very
very serious.

The article continues:

 >Alcor does, however, encourage its 
>members to deposit a DNA sample in its dewars, and we even went so far as 
>to send out sample kits to all our members some years back. There are 
>hundreds of those samples logged and stored in our vaults. Granted, perhaps 
>we have been somewhat remiss in the follow-up for our newer members, but 
>the issue is not that we _refuse_ to store those cells. The issue is 
>instead that we refuse to represent cloning as sufficient for successful 

I find it interesting that Alcor encourages members to deposit a DNA sample
in its dewars.  Could someone explain to me why this was originally done,
apparently with gusto, but now seems to be relegated to a simple (but
apologized for) afterthought?

I also ponder Alcor's willingness to "save the limited representation of a cell 
sample, if 

>that is all that can be saved."  Does this mean that if I have signed up for 
but end up in the World Trade Center's upper floors on 9/11/2001 and all that
is found is my thumb, that Alcor will store my thumb while collecting on the
life insurance, keeping the payments I've made, etc.?

That thought just came to mind.  My real concern are those terribly tortured
people who come to me because their child has died and they want to possibly
try to clone them.  I tell them that it is impossible at this time. 

 However, sometimes tissue samples have been taken.  The parents want to

save those, keeping at least some small hope alive.  The last woman I dealt with
just a few weeks ago was a single mother working two jobs to help put her
daughter through college.

I told her the truth, that she would be better off spending her limited funds on
living daughters education, that a later-born twin of her son would not really
be him, just a boy who would grow up looking the same and having many of the
same characteristics.

At the Cryonics Institute, one can store cell samples for as little as $100 for 
collection kit and an annual membership of $120.00 a year, payable quarterly.
Or you could become a lifetime member for $1250.00

I see CI's approach as being humane and affordable.  I can tell you that the
best spokespeople we have for human cloning are parents wanting later-born
twins of a lost child.  They also elicit the most support among the public.

Except for Ted Williams' son, I don't know of any Alcor "patients" whose
relatives are out promoting cryonics.  That might be one reason Alcor's
PR seems so negative.

It is hard to make jokes about "corpse-sickles" if you have a hopeful but
grieving family member or loved one talking about their dreams of
possible revival.

There might be really good reasons that Alcor refuses to even verify that
they have Ted Williams body.  I gather they enforce tight financial
discipline since Williams head seems to have been removed to Sports
Illustrated horror because full fees had not been paid.

Once again, no explanations have been given and I missed the big
picture spread in Sports Illustrated since I'm hardly a subscriber.
However, I did appear on ESPN defending Ted's right to be cryopreserved
and to be cloned.

Alcor's spokesperson appeared on Wolf Blitzer to pompously declare
they "didn't want to clone anyone...they just wanted to save patient's lives".
Frankly, that really annoyed me.  A few negative comments that I
thought having my head cut off "was somewhat gruesome" (which I do)
and that I feared being kept at -270 C would give me "an ice cream
headache for eternity".

As I've looked at the alternatives, I've reached the point of deciding

an "ice cream headache" is a small price to pay for the possibility for another 
It would also be a small price to pay to see my genotype lived on into
another lifetime.

If I really was afraid of the headache, for less than $1500, I could take
a shot at the possibility of the limited survival offered by a later-
born twin.

Randolfe H. Wicker
Founder, Clone Rights United Front www.clonerights.com 
Spokesperson, Reproductive Cloning Network, www.reproductivecloning.net 
Former CEO, Human Cloning Foundation, www.humancloning.org 
Member, Immortality Institute, www.imminst.org 


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