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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.)
Days 60
Precursor Intermediate mesoderm
Gives rise to Gubernaculum testis (males), suspensory ligament of ovary, round ligament of uterus, ovarian ligament (females)
Latin Gubernaculum
Anatomical terminology

The paired gubernacula (from Ancient Greek κυβερνάω = pilot, steer, also called the caudal genital ligament) are embryonic structures which begin as undifferentiated mesenchyme attaching to the caudal end of the gonads (testes in males and ovaries in females).

Function during development[edit]

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 testes descend to a greater degree than the ovaries and ultimately pass through the inguinal canal.

Adult structures[edit]

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:

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

  • Anatomy photo:36:06-0101 at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center - "Inguinal Region, Scrotum and Testes: The Scrotal Ligament"