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Science has cryogenically frozen a Thai toddler. Here's everything you need to know.

Can a human body be brought back to life?  It may be possible…. 

Matheryn Naovaratpong,  a two-year-old from Thailand fell asleep one day last year and didn’t wake up.

The toddler was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer called ependymoblastoma that is commonly found in young children.

Matheryn, nicknamed Einz by her family, underwent an invasive surgery with a very limited chance of survival. When she woke – and what’s more – started responding to stimulation, her parents decided to give her a chance at life.

“We decided to fight against this cancer,” Einz’s father, Sahatorn told Vice.

Einz. Image via Facebook.

Einz went through 11 more surgeries in the following year, until she had lost 80 per cent of her brain and was largely paralysed.

But instead of turning off the machines, grieving for their daughter and planning a funeral, Einz’s parents made the incredible decision to have her body frozen -in the hope that one day she will be revived, cancer free.

Related: “She was just a tiny baby …. Whoever expects brain cancer?”

The process is called Cryopreservation, and we have A LOT of questions. Let’s get started.

1. What is Cryopreservation?

Cryopreservation is a process of preserving body cells, body parts or a whole body for future resuscitation.

In Einz’s case, scientists froze her body to sub-zero temperatures and transported her from Thailand to the United States for the procedure. When her body arrived in the United States, her brain was removed and is now being preserved in a room in Arizona. Her body is waiting on a cure and a means to be regrown.

2. Who performs these procedures?

The main company is called Alcor, they’re based in Arizona.  They call themselves the Life Extension Foundation, while their mission is to “preserve individual lives”.

Alcor’s headquarters in Arizona.

3. Can anyone be preserved?

No… not exactly. Cryopreservation is only for those who’s bodies have deteriorated past the point of being saved by medical means and where science is the only hope.

There’s also an application process, so Alcor doesn’t accept everyone who wants to be frozen, even if they have truck loads of money.

Alcor has become more and more popular with a “younger generation”, according to the company.

They are “more accustomed to seeing changes in technology,” according to Alcor.

“Any thing you can come up with, six months later, there’s an app for it. The younger generation sees this and thinks ‘sure why not’?—they can figure everything else out, so why not this? They feel this is kind of an inevitable thing,” the company state.

4. How much does it cost?

Given that this is an emerging science, it’s really expensive to do. Vice reports Cryopreservation costs between $80,000, just to preserve the brain, and $200,000 for the entire body.

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Related: A young woman claims to have found a “cure” for cancer. It’s pineapples, apparently.

5. Who’s doing it?

Anyone from the cryogenically frozen toddler to a 102-year-old are being preserved in Alcor’s headquarters right now.

The most famous case of Cryopreservation is baseball legend Ted Williams, whose children decided to freeze his body after death despite his will stating otherwise.

William’s son John-Henry is also frozen. Their family hope to be reunited with them both sometime in the future when they are ‘brought back to life’.

Ted Williams, the most famous person to be cryogenically frozen.

6. Okay, so does it actually work? If I was frozen, could you revive me?

Well, here’s the thing. They don’t know if it works, or, if it will ever work.

Alcor CEO admits to not actually knowing how to revive somebody. Er… right. 

But they’re not giving up hope.

“Obviously, we’d need to come up with a cure for cancer,” Aaron Drake, Alcor’s Medical Response Director, said.

Drake explained that at some point they would have to figure out how to “regenerate a new body.”

He says ‘clone’ is the closest way to describe it, despite that terminology being outdated.

“We know we can regenerate a small organ, and grow a new heart. We know we can 3-dimensionally print cells and hearts. So at some point we would need to regenerate her entire body, or at least her organs, and put it all together. Then we’d need to transplant that brain into a new body,” Drake said.

Er…. yeah… we’re freaked out too.

Alcor’s headquarters.

Related: She died, went to heaven and came back to life knowing her son would die.

 7. Is it cruel to do this to a child?

The jury’s still out on that one, but Einz’s parents are absolutely aware of the risks involved in a procedure like this. Einz comes from a family of doctors, and they’re realistic about the prospects.

“At least, we devoted her life and body for the progress and development of science,” Nareerat, Matheryn’s mother, told Vice.

“This is also another treat for our family, we know that she’s alive although we have been separated.”

When – IF –  it is ever possible for science to revive these bodies on ice,  Einz’s parents have also requested to be frozen so that one day, that can maybe, be reunited again.

Would you choose to be cryogenically frozen? Or, would you support a loved one who wanted to be?

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