Wow. That statistic alone is enough to boggle your mind. It means that someone you know is dealing with infertility, be it a close friend, a coworker, or someone you sit behind at church. And you can guess that estimate of 12%, which equals around 7.3 million women, is a bit low since there are probably more women out there who don't (or can't) seek treatment in the traditional venues.
Here's another issue you may not have considered. About a third of infertility cases are linked back to the male partner, which turns out to be quite the taboo. Men who are infertile often have to deal with insensitive jokes or incredibly awkward silences from friends who are uncomfortable dealing with the idea of infertility. Questioning somebody's masculinity reflects a lack of education - and is never very funny. I even heard a story in which one guy's "friend" teased him saying maybe he needed some help gettin' the job done. Can you imagine that?! Terrible.
Then there's secondary infertility. About 11% of couples who already have a child have difficulty getting pregnant again. Again, that number is probably a low estimate.
When a couple is going through fertility treatments (which range in cost but can easily land anywhere from $8-$15,000 for each attempt) they are trying to balance physical and emotional stressors: frequent appointments, time away from work, hormonal ups & downs on top of other physical symptoms, the pain of the procedures... and for all that, the average success rate hovers near 24%.
So what good does this information do for the rest of you, those that have little ones (or grand-little ones) traipsing about? For now, let it serve as a gentle reminder that these friends in your community need your support. They need you to understand some of how hard it can be for them to become parents - they're up to their ears in sobering statistics.
Will they want to talk about it with you? Likely not. It's a raw, vulnerable process, isn't it. But never underestimate the gesture behind saying to someone, "Wow. I'm sorry you're going through that. Let me know what I can do." And mean it.