The ex vivo expansion of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) is the subject of intense commercial and academic interest due to the potential of HSCs to be a renewable source of material for cellular therapeutics. Unfortunately, because methodologies have not yet been developed to grow clinically relevant numbers of HSCs (or their derivatives) consistently, the potential of this technology is limited. Manipulation of the in vitro culture microenvironment, primarily through cytokine supplementation, has been the predominant approach in studies attempting to expand primary human HSC numbers in vitro. While promising results have been obtained, it is becoming clear that novel methods must be developed before cellular therapies using these stem cells can become routine. Ideally, bioprocesses must be designed to target specifically the growth of stem cell populations while incorporating positive and negative feedback from potentially dynamic mature and maturing cell populations. The product of these culture systems should consist of not only HSCs, but also of cells that allow the engraftment of HSCs and, ideally, cells responsible for the immediate or accelerated functional support of patients. Development of such "designer transplants" will require combining optimal culture conditions capable of amplifying HSC numbers with novel approaches for finely controlling the number, functional capabilities, and characteristics of potentially therapeutic cells in these very complex cell culture systems.