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Sagittal section through the pelvis of a newly born female child. (Label for round ligament of uterus visible at upper right.)
Latin gubernaculum
Gray's subject #252 1211
Days 60
Precursor Intermediate mesoderm
Gives rise to Gubernaculum testis (males), suspensory ligament of ovary, round ligament of uterus, ovarian ligament (females)
Dorlands/Elsevier g_13/12403750

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The paired gubernacula are folds of peritoneum that attach to the caudal end of the gonads (testes in males and ovaries in females).

Function during development

As the scrotum and labia majora form in males and females, respectively, the gubernaculum aids in the descent of the gonads (both testes and ovaries).

The testis descends to a greater degree than the ovary and ultimately pass through the inguinal canal.

Adult structures

The gubernaculum is present only during the development of the urinary and reproductive organs, being replaced by distinct vestiges in males and females.


In males:

  • The upper part of the gubernaculum degenerates.
  • The lower part persists as the gubernaculum testis ("scrotal ligament"). This ligament secures the testis to the most inferior portion of the scrotum, tethering it in place and limiting the degree to which the testis can move within the scrotum.


In females:


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