The mammalian blood system contains a multitude of distinct mature cell lineages adapted to serving diverse functional roles. Mutations that abrogate the development or function of one or more of these lineages can lead to profound adverse consequences, such as immunodeficiency, autoimmunity, or anemia. Replacement of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) that carry such mutations with HSC from a healthy donor can reverse such disorders, but because the risks associated with the procedure are often more serious than the blood disorders themselves, bone marrow transplantation is generally not used to treat a number of relatively common inherited blood diseases. Aside from a number of other problems, risks associated with cytoreductive treatments that create "space" for donor HSC, and the slow kinetics with which immune competence is restored following transplantation hamper progress. This review will focus on how recent studies using experimental model systems may direct future efforts to implement routine use of HSC transplantation to cure inherited blood disorders.