Catholic school teacher fired over in vitro backed

To fertilize an egg the old-fashioned way, sperm need to be able to swim. Not so with in-vitro (test tube) fertilization. In fact, when IVF technicians use tiny, robotically controlled glass straws to insert a single sperm inside an egg, they sometimes beat the sperm with the glass until it stops moving. The only thing that matters is the DNA inside the sperm.

(CBS/AP) FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Two national groups are throwing their support behind a former parochial school teacher who claims she was fired for trying to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization.

The Journal Gazette reports that the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the American Civil Liberties Union filed friends of the court briefs Monday in support of Emily Herx.

Herx filed a federal lawsuit in April against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend claiming that she was discriminated against for a disability when her teaching contract wasn't renewed.

Herx suffers from infertility. She underwent in vitro fertilization, which is banned under Roman Catholic doctrine. After church officials learned of her treatments they decided not to renew her contract.

The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission ruled in her favor in January.

The Journal Gazette reports the diocese wants the court to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the diocese is a religious employer acting in a way consistent with its beliefs.