Hutterite fecundability by age and parity: strategies for frailty modeling of event histories.
Effective fecundability declines with age and parity. Furthermore, women differ in their effective fecundability: some women have persistently low or high monthly chances of live-birth conception. Estimates are presented concerning the magnitude of these effects in a natural-fertility population: 406 Hutterite women in North America who had 3,206 births, largely in the 1940s and 1950s. The estimates are based on models that incorporate the effects of persistent heterogeneity and that use the full information provided by multiple-spell duration data. In addition, hazards rather than probabilities are modeled, piecewise linear hazard functions are used, and age and parity effects are decomposed systematically. These methods permit the development of more elaborate models of changing fecundability and of heterogeneity in postpartum amenorrhea.
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