People over age 70 have traditionally been considered “too old” to donate transplant organs when alive or deceased – but no longer.

The Israel Transplant Center announced on Thursday that during the past week, eight patients underwent successful surgery to receive organs from people aged 70 to 80 and are recovering nicely.

The family of a 73-year-old man who died donated his two lungs (transplanted into one patient), a liver and two kidneys.

One lung, a liver and two kidneys were given by the family of a 76-year-old man.

Israel Transplant reported that since January, eight elderly people, some of whom are over 75 and nearing 80, were the source of life-saving organs. Due to the severe shortage of Transplant organs, many countries such as Italy and Germany have been utilizing organs from people up to the age of 80 and transplanting them into people of similar ages who needed them.

Dr. Tamar Ashkenazi, director of Israel Transplant, said that the ages of the donor and of the would-be recipient are taken into account. Improved technological equipment, including scanners, allow for more exact examination of organs for transplant that in the past were rejected.

In addition, many Israeli who reach their ninth decade are in good health – better than people their age were a few decades ago. With more awareness of healthy lifestyles, exercise and nutrition and improved medical care, their bodies are in good enough shape for them to be organ donors because their biological age is “younger” than their chronological age.

Ashkenazi said it was important for the public to know about the possibility of giving organs even at an advanced age.

“There are people older than 60 who believe they would not be considered for giving,” she said. “This is the opportunity to tell them that they can live a long life and still eventually give life-saving organs.”