Most women who consider being a surrogate believe that the helping others is its own reward. After all, it’s not something every woman can do, and in completing someone else’s family, you’re changing lives forever in an absolutely magical way. But, did you know there are actually health benefits of being a surrogate, too? It’s true! Here’s a quick look at five ways that taking part of the surrogacy journey will actually improve your health. In some cases, the benefits last a lifetime.

1. Healthy Habits Are Gained and Maintained

Even though you have to be healthy to become a surrogate, many gestational surrogates take on extra healthy behaviors, like cutting out caffeine and eating better-balanced meals. Because these habits are started early, while trying to conceive, they may become part of a woman’s natural behaviors, which are carried on long after the baby is delivered.

2. The Risk of Ovarian Cancer is Reduced

Some studies have shown that women who have had children have a lower risk of getting ovarian cancer later in life. The risk is reduced even more with subsequent pregnancies. Researchers believe this is because the ovaries get time off during the pregnancy. Normally, the cells divide every month during a woman’s cycle, and this leaves them vulnerable to cancer.

3. The Risk of Breast Cancer is Reduced

Hormone surges have been linked to breast cancer, and every month a woman’s ovaries naturally produce an abundance to keep her cycle going. Scientists have noted that women who start their periods earlier in life, as well as those who reach menopause later, have a higher incidence of breast cancer. Equally, the more time a woman spends pregnant, the fewer times she’s exposed to these hormone bursts, which makes her less likely to get breast cancer.

4. You May Live Longer

Obviously, staying cancer-free and having healthy habits will add years onto a person’s life, but Danish researchers have uncovered one more reason why surrogates may live longer. During pregnancy, some cells are passed through the placenta, from the child to his carrier. This is referred to as microchimerism, and the cells may stay in a surrogate for life. The scientists examined nearly 300 women and noticed that the women who had male microchimerism, which can be the result of carrying a male child, having a blood transfusion, or being a twin, actually live longer. Only 67% of the women in the study who were not carrying Y chromosome cells lived until age 80, but 85% of the women with it did.

5. Your Heart May Be Happier

The emotional aspects of being a surrogate are one thing, but you may also experience better cardiovascular health, too. Some studies have shown that the risk of heart disease is reduced after a pregnancy. Another study concluded that the risk of stroke was also reduced, though the benefit didn’t kick in until a woman had experienced at least four pregnancies.

Being a surrogate has numerous benefits, and can literally transform lives. If you’re interested in helping someone become a parent, let us know.