Over the last decade, stem cells have been the topic of much debate and investigation for their regenerative potential in the case of renal injury. This review focuses on bone marrow stem cells (BMSC) for renal repair and the potential origins of the controversial results between studies. Some authors have shown that BMSC can differentiate into renal cells and reverse renal dysfunction while others obtained contradictory results. One significant variation between these studies is the choice of BMSC used. According to the literature and our own experience, unfractionated bone marrow cells and hematopoietic stem cells are able to lead to long-term cell tissue engraftment and repair, whereas mesenchymal stem cells have a short-term paracrine effect. Detection of the bone-marrow-derived cells is also an important source of error. However, the major difference between studies is the model of kidney injury used. Two categories of models have to be distinguished: acute and chronic kidney disease. However, variation within these categories also exists. The outcomes of various strategies for BMSC transplantation after injury to the kidney must be compared within a single model and cannot be transposed from one model to another.