The annual Alternative Parenting Show returns to London in September as the boom in alternative parenting continues. The event, in association with London’s Women’s Clinic, is aimed at anyone – gay, bisexual or heterosexual – but will offer specific specialist advice for same-sex couples and single gay men and women on how to make their dream of having a family a reality.

Laws passed in 2005 allowed gay couples to adopt for the very first time and following the introduction of civil partnerships in that same year, more and more gay couples and single people have started to think about having families of their own either through surrogacy, donor insemination and IVF techniques, or adoption and fostering.

According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, in 2011, 8,000 same-sex couples had children in their care. In 2013, that number had risen sharply to over 12,000.

The Alternative Parenting Show recognises that in 2014 families come in all manner of set-ups and, according to event organiser Sarah Garrett, the rise in ‘alternative families’ is going to continue.

Garrett said: ‘Figures realised by the ONS show that in 2014 families come in all different shapes and sizes and that is certainly going to continue as single men and women as well as same-sex couple are exploring ways in which to start a family.

‘Ten years ago, the idea that a gay person could start a family was an unrealistic objective for many. I’m pleased that is changing.

‘The Alternative Parenting Show helps would-be mums and dads battle through the minefield of having children and I’m glad to be hosting it for the third year running – there is a packed programme on the day and a record number of exhibitors providing expert advice.’

There will be advice on surrogacy, fertility, co-parenting, adoption and legal information.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to speak to the Alternative Parenting Show ambassadors, actors Charlie Condou and Sophie Ward, who will share their experiences of being gay parents.

The Alternative Parenting Show is on 21 September at the Grand Connaught Rooms, Covent Garden. For more information and to book tickets, visit the Alternative Parenting website.

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Elliot Herman is So So Gay's news editor. He is a journalist, magazine editor and now PR manager who splits his time between London and Berlin. He also edits DiscoDamaged Berlin, a website for gay English speaking visitors to Berlin.