Newswise — When Anita Costello and Zavier Mauldin of Secaucus, New Jersey got married 27 years ago, it seemed they were a perfect match. It was only recently, though, that the couple learned just how true that really was.

Zavier, who has been suffering from chronic kidney disease, needed a kidney transplant. Although highly unusual, the spouses turned out to be a perfect match, having the exact same blood group.

“We’ve always been a compatible couple,” jokes Anita who donated her kidney to Zavier this past October, saving him from a life of daily dialysis.

Siblings typically have the highest chance - 25% - of being an "exact match" for a living donor so Zavier and Anita were surprised and thrilled to hear they had matching blood types and antigens.

“We really were meant to be together in more ways than one,” says Zavier who is doing really well and grateful to his bride for the organ donation.

The couple say with each passing day, they’re feeling better together. “While not genetically related, the emotionally-related kidneys from spouses function just as well,” explains Michael J. Goldstein, M.D., FACS, director of Abdominal Organ Transplant at Hackensack University Medical Center’s Division of Organ Transplantation. “Hackensack University Medical Center had the fastest growing living donor program in the U.S. in 2021. Our comprehensive living donor program offers several benefits. Kidneys from living donors last longer – almost twice as long – function better, and may take place once the donor and recipient are medically cleared.”

Both retired now, Anita and Zavier spend their days watching their 20 month old granddaughter, Arica. “So in a sense we’re still working together as day care providers,” quipped Anita, who said her husband will be treating her to a vegan Taylor ham and egg sandwich from one of her favorite vegan restaurants this Valentine’s Day.