International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care

Assessments

ATTITUDES AND ACCEPTANCE TOWARD THE TECHNOLOGY OF CRYONICS IN GERMANY

Stephanie Kaisera1, Dominik Grossa1, Jens Lohmeiera1, Michael Rosentretera1 and Jürgen Raschkea2

a1 Institute of History, Theory and Ethics in Medicine, Medical School, RWTH Aachen University

a2 Harris Interactive AG

Abstract

Objectives: This study explores the awareness and the degree of acceptance of the idea of the medical technology cryonics—the freezing of a corpse to revive it in the future—among German citizens.

Methods: Data were collected on the basis of a representatively weighted online survey of 1,000 people aged between 16 and 69 years and resident in the Federal Republic of Germany.

Results: Forty-seven percent stated that they had already heard of cryonics; 22 percent could imagine having their bodies cryonized after their deaths. For 53 percent, participation in the latest technological developments which correlated with the approval of the conceivability of cryopreservation was important. The majority of the respondents were not skeptical or cautious about innovations in the medical field.

Conclusions: The study shows that cryonics is known and accepted to a certain extent. However, a large proportion of respondents did not believe that it was desirable to use medical technology to overcome death, and fundamentally rejected a post-mortal continuation of life.

Keywords:

  • Cryopreservation;
  • Death;
  • Biotechnology;
  • Biological Preservation;
  • Germany

Footnotes

  This study was written in the context of the research project “Death and Dead Bodies - Transmortality” – funded by the Volkswagen Foundation – in the subproject III History and Ethics in Medicine, under the direction of Prof. Dr. med. Dr. med. dent. Dr. phil. Dominik Gross. The online survey was sponsored by the Institute for History, Theory and Ethics in Medicine of the RWTH Aachen University.