Hypoplastic BM disorders in children and adolescents comprise a broad spectrum of disorders. Acquired severe aplastic anemia (SAA), refractory cytopenia of childhood (RCC), a subtype of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), and inherited BM failure (IBMF) disorders are the main and most difficult hematological differential diagnoses. Whereas IBMF disorders can often be diagnosed by their clinical features and/or underlying genetic aberrations, the morphological distinction between SAA and hypocellular RCC has been controversial. The histopathological pattern of RCC consists of islands of immature erythroid precursors accompanied by sparsely distributed granulocytic cells. Megakaryocytes are significantly decreased or absent and, rarely, micromegakaryocytes are detected on immunohistochemistry. Because fatty tissue between areas of hematopoiesis can mimic SAA, 2 biopsies are recommended to facilitate the detection of representative BM spaces. Recent data indicate that the response to immunosuppressive therapy is inferior in RCC compared with SAA. Furthermore, approaches to allogeneic hematopoietic transplantation differ. Controlled prospective clinical studies in patients with hypoplastic BM failure disorders will require comprehensive guidelines for diagnosing SAA, RCC, and the different IBMF disorders.