Throughout development, hematopoietic stem cells migrate to specific microenvironments, where their fate is, in part, extrinsically controlled. CD44 standard as a member of the cell adhesion molecule family is extensively expressed within adult bone marrow and has been previously reported to play important roles in adult hematopoietic regulation via CD44 standard-ligand interactions. In this manuscript, CD44 expression and function are further assessed and characterized on both fetal and adult hematopoietic stem cells. Using a CD44(-/-) mouse model, conserved functional roles of CD44 are revealed throughout development. CD44 is critical in the maintenance of hematopoietic stem and progenitor pools, as well as in hematopoietic stem cell migration. CD44 expression on hematopoietic stem cells as well as other hematopoietic cells within the bone marrow microenvironment is important in the homing and lodgment of adult hematopoietic stem cells isolated from the bone/bone marrow interface. CD44 is also involved in fetal hematopoietic stem cell migration out of the liver, via a process involving stromal cell-derived factor-1alpha. The absence of CD44 in neonatal bone marrow has no impact on the size of the long-term reconstituting hematopoietic stem cell pool, but results in an enhanced long-term engraftment potential of hematopoietic stem cells.