Cryogenics: Icy Existence

‘Cryo’ is imitative from a Greek phrase meaning cold, which refers to perpetuation under cold temperatures.

This itinerary of action of cryonics is regarded with cynicism within the scientific culture and is not a part of today’s therapeutic world. It is alleged that by the process of preparing a body for cryopreservation sooner or later in prospect a human being can be revitalized.

Technicians of cryonics reckon that death is a line of action moderately than an event. But what’s out of the run of the mill is that the process of cryopreservation can be carried solitary after the death of an individual.

Legal Question Surrounding: Cryogenics[1]

Although, this practice of Cryogenics is not at the rage and numerous states do not have commandments explicitly for cryonics or point out its forename but that does not mean that no laws exist for cryonics. Yes! They do exist in some or the other forms, like there are laws to shield public health from concealed, untreated and unburied cadaver.

This process of cryogenic is a voluntary inclination made by the individual who is acquainted with the part of the pack of information that he is probable to breathe his last breaths. These individuals who plump to surrender their bodies for cryonic preservation are considered to be dead under eyes of law. They are not alive, not partly alive but dead. They are considered to be legally dead.

Scientists, doctors, technicians have merely characterized them as dead and they suppose characterization can be changed when once their studies are backed up with evidences and their philosophy go round out to be spot on. They say the labelling or characterization of a cryonic patient as ‘dead’ consent them to acquire charge of corpse of human being by becoming the legal curator of that dead body but all this depends upon the voluntary spirit of the individual before they are dead.

Just the way people are voluntary allowed to bequeath their bodies to medical schools or bequeath their organs, in the same way they can donate their bodies for medical research as well. In India, body donation is legal and regulated by the Anatomy Act, 1949 which has been adopted in all states of Indian Territory This process of cryo-preservation is already a well acknowledged procedure, example: Today the preservation of sperm, embryo is quiet widespread but here this process is taken to its extreme.

Observing the rights of secularism courts are going to the lead in recognising the prudence in carrying out the wishes of the deceased person. France does not authorize cryonics as an officially permitted method of discarding of a corpse but allows dead body to be dispatched to the nation state of cryonic freezing. In Russia, cryonics falls exterior to the scope of medical diligence and interment service which makes it easier to liberate corpse of cryonic candidate. In States like California and Arizona have legislations which necessitate states and families to respect the choices of an individual, as to disposition of their own remains.

In California, courts have acknowledged this right as an individual right which means, ‘legally dead’ individuals do have rights.

Individuals may voluntary hand-over their bodies to cryonic organisations. These organisations are procurement organisations under license laws of 1988, which means:  “A person licensed, accredited or approved under laws of any state or by state department of Health Services for procurement, distribution or storage of human body parts.”

ALCOR (a cryonic organisation) was given the authority to store legally dead patients; this was held in the case of Roe v. Mitchell. Apparently, there are two mercantile organisations on in the United States and other in Russia and the expenditure to preserve such corpse are if truth be told is very lofty.

This hypothesis of cryonics is highly surrounded by various controversies.

What brought cryonics into limelight?

This area under discussion gained the limelight when a 14 year old girl who was combating with cancer wrote,

“I have been requested to give explanation why I want this bizarre thing to be done. I’m only 14 years old and I don’t want to depart this life, but I know I’m going to. I deem being cryo-preserved gives me an opportunity to be healed and woken up even in hundreds of year’s period. I don’t covet to be buried underground. I want to subsist longer and longer and I think in future they might unearth a cure for my cancer and wake me up. I wish to have this chance. This is my wish.”[2]

The Honourable Royal Court of Justice observed that the case was not about how shrewd the child’s wishes are nor it is encouraging a body to be cryonically preserved. But this case was of a mother who was struggling with the father of the child to safeguard her daughter’s body cryonically and the court ruled out the verdict in her favour.

Although, it was a wish of a 14 year old but all aspects were observed whether this process of cryonic preservation could be carried out efficiently or not.

Various points were taken into consideration, with respect to disposal of the body,

  1. ‘Proper Disposal’, was not distinct and was eminent by the Honourable court that traditions alter over time.
  2. Until 19th century cremation was not even acknowledged in the United Kingdom
  3. In English Law, there is no right to read aloud the treatment of the body after death. This was upheld upfront of European Convention on Human Rights on common law in respect, see case: Burrows v. HM Coroner for Preston [2008] EWHC 1387.

The verdict of this case was viewed as a Continuum, the intrinsic jurisdiction of the Royal Court of Justice. The existence of this right favours the ability of the court to do such things as are necessary to protect the interest of a child after death.

Every light carries a ray of hope. Maybe by bringing this theme into limelight may the future of cryonic preservation gives us hope to revive the one’s we have lost.


[1] Retrieved on the 24th day of February, 2016 at 18:23 Hrs. IST

[2] Retrieved on the 24th day of February, 2016 at 04:23 Hrs. IST

Authored By:

Rashi Mehta,

Student Ambassador,

LexisNexis India



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