Bayesian Analysis

Flexible Bayesian Human Fecundity Models

Sungduk Kim, Rajeshwari Sundaram, Germaine M. Buck Louis, and Cecilia Pyper

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Human fecundity is an issue of considerable interest for both epidemiological and clinical audiences, and is dependent upon a couple’s biologic capacity for reproduction coupled with behaviors that place a couple at risk for pregnancy. Bayesian hierarchical models have been proposed to better model the conception probabilities by accounting for the acts of intercourse around the day of ovulation, i.e., during the fertile window. These models can be viewed in the framework of a generalized nonlinear model with an exponential link. However, a fixed choice of link function may not always provide the best fit, leading to potentially biased estimates for probability of conception. Motivated by this, we propose a general class of models for fecundity by relaxing the choice of the link function under the generalized nonlinear model framework. We use a sample from the Oxford Conception Study (OCS) to illustrate the utility and fit of this general class of models for estimating human conception. Our findings reinforce the need for attention to be paid to the choice of link function in modeling conception, as it may bias the estimation of conception probabilities. Various properties of the proposed models are examined and a Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling algorithm was developed for implementing the Bayesian computations. The deviance information criterion measure and logarithm of pseudo marginal likelihood are used for guiding the choice of links. The supplemental material section contains technical details of the proof of the theorem stated in the paper, and contains further simulation results and analysis.

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Bayesian Anal., Volume 7, Number 4 (2012), 771-800.

First available in Project Euclid: 27 November 2012

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Conception Fecundity Generalized t-distribution Generalized nonlinear model Markov chain Monte Carlo Menstrual Cycle Posterior distribution


Kim, Sungduk; Sundaram, Rajeshwari; Buck Louis, Germaine M.; Pyper, Cecilia. Flexible Bayesian Human Fecundity Models. Bayesian Anal. 7 (2012), no. 4, 771--800. doi:10.1214/12-BA726.

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See also

  • Related item: Bruno Scarpa. Comment on Article by Kim et al. Bayesian Anal., Vol. 7, Iss. 4 (2012) 801–804.
  • Related item: Joseph B. Stanford. Comment on Article by Kim et al. Bayesian Anal., Vol. 7, Iss. 4 (2012) 805–808.
  • Related item: Sungduk Kim, Rajeshwari Sundaram, Germaine M. Buck Louis, Cecilia Pyper. Rejoinder. Bayesian Anal., Vol. 7, Iss. 4 (2012) 809–812.