FAQ: Membership Questions

There are two types of Alcor membership. You can become a basic member of Alcor by signing a membership agreement and paying dues. A cryopreservation member has approved funding in place and has signed a cryopreservation agreement. 


Basic Member 

As a basic member, you get: 

  • Locked-in age-based dues to save money over the long-term 
  • Discounts on conferences 
  • Greater rewards for the Independent Cryonics Educator (ICE) program 
  • The opportunity to sign a pet cryopreservation agreement to cryopreserve a companion animal 
  • The option to sign a cryopreservation agreement and become a cryopreservation member 

There is no requirement to have cryopreservation funding in place when joining Alcor. Basic membership allows you to lock the dues at the current rate while you seek funding to become a cryopreservation member. Enrollment in the basic membership can be done completely online! 


Cryopreservation Member 

Cryopreservation members must have approved funding in place and have filled out all Cryopreservation Member agreements. Most of the agreements can be completed online, but the last will & testament to donate remains document which states your remains are coming to Alcor must be notarized (US Citizens only). Two witnesses are required, who are not family members, to sign the contracts. The Consent to be Cryopreserved and the Last Will & Testament to Donate Remains must be physically signed with ink, they cannot be done virtually, and scanned or mailed to the Alcor office for processing. 


CLICK HERE to start your membership application today!  

Because we need you, and you need us. Like saving for retirement, cryonics is an easier commitment to make while you are still young and healthy because life insurance is much more affordable. If you put off cryonics arrangements until you are older, it will be harder to afford, and you may become uninsurable due to unexpected health problems. By joining Alcor now, you not only protect yourself, but strengthen Alcor and make it more likely that we will be here when you need us. To incentivize this, Alcor’s membership dues are a function of your age at signup. Don’t cryocrastinate!

For all costs see Required Costs and Cryopreservation Funding Minimums.

More specifically, there are three cost components included in this schedule:

  • Cryopreservation Funding Minimums (most often covered with life insurance).
  • Membership Dues.
  • Standby Charges (waived if cryopreservation minimums are sufficiently exceeded).

Yes. Prominent insurance companies across the country are cooperating with Alcor to ensure your needs are met. See Alcor’s list of insurance agents for a free quote.

Yes. Ideally, Alcor prefers to do a “standby” (see next question) and begin cardiopulmonary support, medications, and cooling within the first couple of minutes after cardiac arrest. Alternatively, other personnel should pack the patient in ice, do chest compressions (to speed cooling), and administer heparin (to prevent blood clots) if available. Delay not only increases the likelihood that information in the brain is lost, but it compromises the ability of Alcor to later perfuse cryoprotectants properly, resulting in freezing injury.

The most effective way of reducing delays and getting the highest quality cryopreservation is to relocate to cooperative hospice care near Alcor (see the FAQ question “What can I do to optimize my chances of being cryopreserved under good conditions?“).

Standby is the process in which cryonics personnel are deployed and waiting near the bedside of a patient at serious risk of death. The purpose of Standby and a Standby Team is to take prompt action to restore blood circulation, administer protective medications, and start rapid cooling when the heart stops beating. This is critically important to achieve a good cryopreservation. Alcor attempts to provide Standby when needed to all members in the U.S. and Canada through its Comprehensive Member Standby Program.

Standby is considered so critical that it is understood that the very best treatment a pronounced member can obtain starts with a fully staffed bedside rescue at a location close to the Alcor facility. Alcor members covered by the Comprehensive Member Standby Program who elect to relocate to a care facility near Alcor, such as a hospice or a temporary home, are entitled to relocation assistance of up to $10,000.00 from the Alcor Standby Fund Pool.

Standby is a necessary part of cryonics because the purpose of cryonics is to stop the dying process as soon as possible. This cannot be done if clinical death is unattended, and procedures don’t begin until hours later. Sometimes delays are unavoidable, and Alcor will still perform cryopreservations under poor conditions if necessary. There is evidence that brain cell structure persists for several hours after unattended clinical death. However, freezing damage can be substantial in such cases because cryoprotective perfusion is compromised by blood clotting and tissue swelling.

It is Alcor’s position that cryonics should not be planned like an interment procedure which can be done hours after clinical death. Doing so compromises the biological integrity of patients, and the scientific credibility of cryonics. Unfortunately some members of other organizations seem to believe that Standby is not necessary, and that having morticians collect their deceased bodies to send off for cryopreservation is just as good as any other cryonics procedure. We believe this is decidedly not the case.

Alcor provides every member with an ID bracelet and ID necklace. These stainless-steel items have the member identification number and emergency instructions engraved upon them. Members should wear this jewelry at all times in case of medical emergency or clinical death.

We cannot answer this question in any simple, straightforward way. Clearly, there will be some point at which the fundamental brain ultrastructure responsible for encoding memory and personality is destroyed. Exactly when this point is reached is not currently known. Even after 24 hours of ischemia (lack of blood flow) at room temperature, many microscopic brain structures are well preserved.

Because of current uncertainties about such critical issues, most (although by no means all) Alcor members have requested cryopreservation be carried out regardless of the degree of severity of injury or time delay.

Each member may specify the conditions under which he or she wishes cryopreservation not to proceed in his or her Alcor Cryopreservation Agreement.

The very best way to insure a good cryopreservation is to relocate to the Phoenix Metro area if you become terminally ill. Alcor has a working relationship with a large, well-established, non-profit Phoenix-based hospice organization. Available hospice services are quite varied and include options for each level of care required. At one end of the spectrum, for the most independent patients, are designated apartment complexes. As a patient is likely to progressively need more intensive interaction, assisted living venues, nursing home facilities, and finally, in-patient care arrangements are offered. Alcor members covered by the Comprehensive Member Standby Program who elect to relocate to a care facility near Alcor, such as a hospice or a temporary home, are entitled to relocation assistance of up to $10,000.00 from the Alcor Standby Fund Pool. Contact Alcor for more information.

Personal risk reduction can be a significant factor in improving one’s chances for cryopreservation under good conditions. Eliminating smoking and making lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of sudden death from heart attack and stroke could reduce your chances of dying under circumstances in which Alcor cannot reach you quickly. These have the added benefit of leading to a healthier life as well.

It is important for Alcor members to do whatever they can to avoid the risk of autopsy. For more information, see the Alcor paper on Protecting Yourself in Medical Emergencies.

There are many things that can be done on a local level to improve one’s chance of rescue in an emergency. Trying to interest others in your area, and forming a local support group are good first steps. In larger communities with a larger number of cryonicists, volunteers can learn cryonics rescue techniques and store emergency equipment.

Finally, you can support cryonics research and provide financial and volunteer support to improve Alcor’s capabilities on every level. The more resources Alcor has at its disposal, the more it will be able to achieve. In large measure our effectiveness, or lack thereof, is a function of the support we receive from our members.

When you select options in the Alcor Cryopreservation Agreement you will be asked to state your preference if cryopreservation turns out to be impossible (for instance, if you should be involved in a disaster where no human remains can be recovered — Alcor did tragically lose one member in the World Trade Center collapse, and no remains were recovered).

One option you may select is to name a secondary beneficiary for your life insurance, assuming you are funding yourself with a life insurance policy. The secondary beneficiary will receive the face value of the policy after your legal death if the first beneficiary (Alcor) is not eligible. However, this does entail some risk. We have seen cases where a relative concealed the death of a cryonicist from the cryonics organization because the relative wanted to keep the insurance money.

Some members want all of their cryopreservation resources focused on recovering any biological remains whatsoever, regardless of the degree of damage or time elapsed. This is a highly personal decision, and one each member must make individually.

In 1997, Alcor created an irrevocable Patient Care Trust. This trust was established to ensure the security of the funds allotted to the long-term care of Alcor’s cryopatients. Using a conservative estimate, the funds should generate more than enough money to cover patient maintenance indefinitely.

Alcor places $25,000 into the Trust for each neuropatient and $115,000 for each whole body patient. The Trust holds the mortgage of the building housing Alcor patients as well as majority interest in the ownership of the building.  The rest of the Trust investments are held at the investment firm of Morgan Stanley. Future growth of the Trust that sufficiently exceeds patient storage cost may be used to fund research into the technology of patient repair and resuscitation. The full text of the Trust is available in the Alcor Library.

Alcor is governed by a “self perpetuating Board.” In such a Board, new Board members are elected to that position by existing Board members. This is the most common way of electing Board members in non profit organizations. The duties and authority of the Board are described in the Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, and by applicable law. The Board seeks to achieve the fundamental goals of Alcor, as described by the Mission Statement.

Alcor’s self perpetuating Board dates back to Alcor’s founding in 1972. Since then, the Board has served Alcor through a wide range of circumstances and sometimes turbulent times. Over that time we have grown from a few people to an organization with over 1000 members. Today’s Board members, also called Directors, continue to serve Alcor.

A fundamental rationale for selecting the self perpetuating Board structure was its ability to provide continuity of purpose over a long period of time. Existing Board members select those new Board members who they believe are best able to preserve Alcor’s core values and carry out its mission. All Board members are required by Alcor Bylaws to be Alcor members. While not required by the Bylaws, we also find that Alcor Board members are cryonicists of long standing and are well known within the cryonics community. By tradition, new Board members are usually sought from the ranks of Alcor Advisors, although the Board can and has selected Board Members who have not been Advisors. Board members have a strong incentive to choose carefully because the success of Alcor and the survival of our members — including our Board members — is heavily dependent on the abilities and character of future Boards of Directors.

For more discussion on this topic, see Alcor’s Self Perpetuating Board.

Alcor cryopreserves pets of members if arrangements are made to do so. Several members have pets in cryopreservation. Costs vary depending on the size of the animal and other circumstances. Alcor members with pets can contact Alcor for more information.

Alcor has indeed made provisions for every patient to permanently store one cubic foot box of information, to be removed from storage and returned upon revival. Few members or patient families have taken us up on this offer for a “memory box,” but we do have some who have done so. We encourage our patients to include journals, books, photos, CDs or DVDs etc., anything they might treasure in the future. The dimensions of the box are 12″ wide by 10″ tall by 14″ long.

The archival materials are sent to a salt mine in another state (Underground Vaults & Storage in Hutchinson, Kansas ), where they rest at a constant 65 degrees F.  The cost of this permanent storage is included with the cost of the cryopreservation procedure. Additional box storage may be purchased for $250/box.

We try very hard to protect the privacy of all of our members, but cryonics involves complexities that place limits on the level of privacy and secrecy that can be effectively provided. Although all Alcor staff and officials with access to member records are bound by legal confidentiality agreements, there are other people who will inevitably know about your arrangements. Alcor does need to have properly signed and witnessed documents, and those witnesses will know. Any hospital stay or other medical event that might result in a cryopreservation results in providing information to non-Alcor personnel under conditions where maintaining confidentiality can present challenges. Standby often requires explicit discussion of the medical condition and location of the patient with several shifts of non-Alcor health care personnel. Cryonics also requires working with funeral directors for preparing death certificates, transit permits, and sometimes facility use, after legal death. There have been past instances of funeral directors disclosing cryonics arrangements in response to inquiries from estranged family members, and those family members then telling news media.

Experience suggests that maintaining secrecy in cases where public interest is high is unlikely to be entirely successful, and attempts to maintain secrecy may only serve to guarantee that the least reliable sources are the only ones heard by the public.

The greatest risk to privacy can be created by close relatives who feel entitled to more of your estate. Secrecy gives such relatives a form of leverage: publicly announcing their own unflattering narrative of you, your motives, your actions, and your cryonics arrangements.

Beyond these concerns, there is the problem created if Alcor is not notified that you’re in need. While motives may vary, the more secret the arrangements the greater the risk you might not be cryopreserved at all. At a minimum, your own staff and medical personnel must be fully informed of what to do in an emergency. Whenever you travel, those traveling with you also need to know how to respond in a medical emergency. This level of staff training and support makes total secrecy concerning cryonics arrangements difficult. Not providing this level of staff support makes the handling of emergency medical conditions (heart attacks, accidents, etc.) problematic. Particularly risky are cases where a relative would benefit financially if you are not cryopreserved, or where a relative disapproves of cryonics, or both. In either case, if Alcor is not promptly notified of your legal death, it could result in a significant delay in your cryopreservation, or even result in you being buried or cremated. Such cases have occurred. Alcor advises that estate planning documents should be drawn up in a manner that carefully avoids any financial incentive to block your cryopreservation.

In cases where there is a deep public interest you should consider at least a public announcement following legal death. Earlier communication of your story to the public, at a time and place of your choosing, should be carefully considered as well.

Individuals 18 or older in the United States are eligible to sign up with Alcor. Persons under 18 must be signed up with the permission of all their legal guardians. The minimum age may vary depending on country of origin.

In 1990 the Canadian province of British Columbia enacted a law that specifically banned the sale of cryonics services in that province. In 2002 the Solicitor General (Canadian equivalent of a state Attorney General) issued a written clarification stating that the law only prohibited funeral homes from selling cryonics arrangements. Cryonics could still be performed in the province, even with the paid assistance of funeral homes, provided they were not involved in the direct sale of cryonics. This position was affirmed by the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority of British Columbia which stated that a British Columbia funeral provider “is not prohibited from performing any related services such as preparation and transport.” The Lifespan Society of British Columbia, a cryonics advocacy organization within B.C., filed several civil claims against the crown between 2014 and 2017 in order to find out what kind of cryonics activities were prohibited. On May 28, 2018, the Lifespan Society received a comfort letter from Consumer Protection British Columbia (CPBC) which reviewed a standard cryonics contract between The Lifespan Society of B.C. and Keegan Macintosh, informing the Society that Lifespan’s cryonics activities and cryonics contract were not in violation, as the proposed client seemed to be well-informed about the procedure and not at risk of either coercion or fraud in the circumstances. Based on this, Lifespan was satisfied that the CPBC would not pursue any legal action against a cryonics organization operating within B.C. For more information, see the website of the Lifespan Society of British Columbia.

Alcor is the only cryonics organization that uses cryopreservation technology and solutions developed for medical applications by leading cryobiology researchers. The M22 vitrification solution used by Alcor is the product of decades of research in mainstream laboratories working to cryopreserve whole organs. It incorporates numerous patented technologies that prevent ice formation, reduce toxicity, and eliminate a type of damage called chilling injury. It is able to vitrify at slower cooling rates, and larger volumes, than any other vitrification solution in published scientific literature. Electron micrographs of brains cryopreserved using M22 were published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1019: 559–563 (2004)). M22 has also been used to cryopreserve the first vital mammalian organ (kidney) at a temperature of -130 degC with long-term survival after transplantation.

Alcor also uses demanding “closed circuit” perfusion, the same method of circulating fluids through the body used in heart surgery and organ cryopreservation research. This permits cryoprotectant to be introduced more gently, with better temperature control, without requiring cryoprotectant concentration in blood vessels to be far above target tissue concentration.

Alcor is the only cryonics organization that attempts to provide bedside standby service to all members in the U.S. and Canada [subject to a 180 day waiting period after signup]. The purpose of standby is to begin stabilization and transport procedures immediately after clinical death. For standby service to occur with other organizations, separate arrangements are required that may include contracts that bring the total cost above the current minimum for Alcor neuropreservation.

The chart below outlines some of the cost and technology differences between procedures available through Alcor and the Cryonics Institute (CI). For further details see Alcor’s minimum funding requirements page, and the membership page of the Cryonics Institute.

Minimum Funding
Annual Costs / Monthly Costs
Advanced Solutions and Perfusion Technology
Cryoprotection of the Body
Alcor Whole Body $200,000 $705* / $61 Yes**
Alcor Neuropreservation $80,000 $705* / $61 Yes**
Alcor Whole Body with CMS waiver $220,000 $525* / $46 Yes
Alcor Neuropreservation with CMS waiver $100,000 $525* / $46 Yes
CI Yearly Member with Standby $95,000 $120 Yes
Variable ****
CI Lifetime Member with Standby $88,000 $0*** Yes
Variable ****
CI Yearly Member $35,000 $120 No
Variable ****
CI Lifetime Member $28,000 $0*** No
Variable ****
* Includes Comprehensive Member Standby (CMS) fees and membership dues. Discounts are available for family members, students, and long-term members, and members under the age of 18 do not pay CMS fees. For full details on discounted costs, see Schedule A.
** More limited availability outside the U.S. and Canada and subject to a 180 day waiting period after signup.
*** A one-time payment at signup of $1250 is required. Family discounts are available.
**** Until at least August, 2015, the CI website indicated that after CI Patient 77 in 2006, a default policy had been adopted of only perfusing the head with cryoprotectant. The body below the head would be frozen without cryoprotectant unless body perfusion was specifically requested. Case summaries on the CI website indicate that attempts at body perfusion resumed with Patient 122 in 2014. Of 15 patients since, body perfusion was reported to have been attempted in seven cases. Venous concentration targets were apparently only reached two cases (Patients 122 and 132). CI declared in February 2016 that body perfusion had been a policy for several years. As recently as March, 2016, the CI website at that time still described cryoprotectant perfusion of the head only on its Procedures page.

Re: Advanced Solutions and Perfusion Technology: The cryoprotectant used by Alcor, M22, was developed for purposes of medical organ banking and transplantation. It was the first solution to ever permit the cryopreservation and subsequent long-term survival of a vital mammalian organ (kidney). M22 is a “6th generation” vitrification solution, incorporating ice blockers, chilling injury protection, and numerous other insights going back to the earliest work on kidney vitrification at the American Red Cross in the 1980s. The journal article first disclosing the composition and utility of M22 has been cited by 302 other scientific papers as of 2020. There are no scientific journal publications about VM1 (as used by Cryonics Institute). VM1 was developed as a solution of simple composition for economical cryonics, not preservation of organs for transplantation.

Alcor’s long-term planning is conservative. Minimum funding requirements budget $115,000 to be set aside to fund long-term care of whole body patients, and $25,000 for neuropatients. Any excess funding also goes toward long-term care unless the member specifies otherwise. As a result, Alcor has more funding set aside per volume of patients under care than any other organization by a wide margin.

Alcor also segregates long-term care funds in the Patient Care Trust (PCT), which has a separate board of directors that oversees investments and ensures PCT funds are only used for long-term patient care. No other cryonics organization has this structure.

You are always welcome to schedule a tour or visit Alcor’s facility in Scottsdale, Arizona. Please contact us for more information or use our online tour reservation form.