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A non-linear model of fecundability, postpartum amenorrhea, and sterility


  • Sharon Yan
  • Ulla Larsen


This paper proposes a convolution model of fecundability, controling for the effects of postpartum amenorrhea and unobserved heterogeneity in fecundability. Simulation analysis was used to assess the validity and reliability of estimates derived from the model. Analysis showed that the model captured the mean and standard deviation of age at the onset of sterility in simulated populations where sterility followed either a Gompertz, a gamma, or a lognormal distribution. The model performed well when sterility was specified by either a lognormal or a gamma distribution. The model also accurately estimated fecundability and postpartum amenorrhea. Next, the model was found to fit data from 17th and 18th century French Canadian birth histories. In this French Canadian sample the mean age at sterility was found to be 46.3 years using a gamma model. The decline in fecundability was almost linear after age 30. Thus, fecundability at age 40 had declined to about one-third of that observed at age 30. Variability in individual fecundability was quite high. For example, women with fecundability one standard deviation above the mean had about 2.3 times as high fecundability as women one standard deviation below the mean.

Suggested Citation

  • Sharon Yan & Ulla Larsen, 2001. "A non-linear model of fecundability, postpartum amenorrhea, and sterility," Mathematical Population Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2), pages 143-164.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:mpopst:v:9:y:2001:i:2:p:143-164 DOI: 10.1080/08898480109525500

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