Some women are known to freeze their eggs in case they’re unable to find a suitable partner before their body starts aging. Now, some people are choosing to freeze their stem cells in order to have the option later down the road to extend their lives, according to CNBC.
The technology is unproven, and research is still ongoing. For now, many scientists are unsure that frozen stem cells are useful, but that doesn’t stop consumers, or a company like Forever Labs, from moving forward with the process.
Forever Labs has several locations across the United States, including one in Los Angeles and one in New York City. The company will extract your stem cells, store them in a biorepository, and will later give you access to them as needed for possible anti-aging therapies. Their website also boasts that frozen stem cells could be used against diseases, and later to “replenish” your blood and tissues.
The process can cost you anywhere from $2,500 to $7,000. The $7,000 option is a “Lifetime Storage Plan,” which offers a comprehensive option with no annual fees. One patient of Forever Labs, Li Jiang, is one of the investors in the company. When asked about his reasons behind going through with the procedure, Jiang responded, saying what drove him to his decision.
“If you are able to extend your life by even five years, I mean I think you would pay something to do that.”
To extract the stem cells, a doctor applies a local anesthetic to a person’s back. Then using small drills and large needles, stem cells are extracted out of the hip bone. It reportedly only takes 15 minutes to complete.
Some question the validity of Forever Lab’s claims. Also, it’s hard to know what would happen to everyone’s stem cells if the company fails to continue operating. Agnieszka Czechowicz, of Stanford University, wonders whether the lab is extracting and holding large enough samples of stem cells for it to be useful down the road.
The lab says that many people who are getting the procedure done are from the tech community. But they also note that it’s become more commonplace in recent years for people to store things like umbilical cord blood.
As science and technology evolve, companies like Forever Labs may become commonplace. For now, storing your frozen stem cells is an option for some people, but a longer lifespan is not guaranteed.