Two bisphosphonic acid-functionalized cross-linkers (one novel) with different spacer chain characteristics were synthesized and incorporated into hydrogels by copolymerization with 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate at different ratios to control the hydrogels' swelling, mechanical properties, and ability to support mineralization for biomedical applications. The cross-linkers were synthesized by reaction of 2-isocyanatoethyl methacrylate and bisphosphonated diamines followed by selective dealkylation of the bisphosphonate ester groups. The hydrogels provide in vitro growth of carbonated apatite, morphology affected by the cross-linker structure. The hydrogels exhibit a high Young's modulus E (up to 400 kPa) and can sustain up to 10.2 +/- 0.1 MPa compressive stresses. E and hence the cross-link density significantly increases upon mineralization reflecting the formation of many bisphosphonate BP-Ca2+ bonds acting as additional cross-links. Cyclic mechanical tests reveal self-recoverability of hydrogels because of reversible nature of BP-Ca2+ bonds. The results suggest that these cross-linkers can add calcium-binding abilities to hydrogels synthesized from any monomer and improve their mechanical, swelling, and mineralization properties and hence are potentially useful materials for biomedical applications.