Something Walt Disney famously opted for, having your head frozen when you die is thought to be a way of preserving your personality, intellect and memories in readiness to bring you fully back to life at some point in the future.
Previously within the reach of only the very rich, StemProtect.co.uk now says we are looking at a near future in which the service is available to everyone - for a small cost.
Mark Hall, spokesperson for StemProtect.co.uk, said: “We’re accustomed to making jokes about freezing heads when we die, and of course everyone knows Walt Disney did it - often that’s their only point of reference. But soon we could see this practice becoming commonplace because advances in technology have made it much more affordable.
“And of course, while we’re not at the point yet where we can bring someone back to life from this procedure, we believe it’s just around the corner.”
StemProtect.co.uk agrees that this does raise some weighty ethical questions: “We don’t yet know what the emotional impact would be of bringing someone back to life this way, even when we are physically able to do it. That’s not a question for science but for us as human beings, and it’s a question we might not be able to answer until the first person is brought back to life after being frozen.”
The service will be offered at a cost of £5000 for 250 years. As Mr Hall pointed out: “That’s cheaper than some funerals.”
Other ways of preserving vital tissue, such as stem cell banking, are now much more commonplace than ever before, and carry far fewer ethical problems. Unlike freezing a head, which is done to bring a dead individual back to life, the work StemProtect.co.uk do is aimed at preserving information about the body which can be used for medical purposes while the person is still alive.
Public surveys showed that people had mixed thoughts on the idea of having their heads frozen when they die.
Johnny, 37, from Leeds, said: “ Where do I sign up? Freeze me now and bring me back in a few hundred years please, I take it my bar tab will be cancelled?”
Meanwhile, Mr Hibbert, from Yorkshire, commented: “ Anything to get away from the wife.”
However, Stephen, 45, from Bedford, said: “I don’t even like to think about it. Who would want to be, or know, someone who had been brought back after they died and had their head frozen? I can’t imagine it’s a smooth ride, put it that way.”
Mary, 75, from Oxford, also had misgivings about the idea: “As a Christian, I don’t think it’s right at all. Once you die, you die, and I’m not scared of that. I’d be more scared of coming back afterwards away from peace and back here where there’s not as much peace.”