The days of a 2point4 children family are long gone.
There are currently two million lone parent families and 63,000 same sex couple families in the UK.
Add to that the 5,206 adoptions that took place in 2012 and the 1950s style of parenting is starting to look as outdated as the era’s hairstyles.
As one of the most popular members of the Coronation Street cast over the last decade, actor Charlie Condou, who played Marcus Dent on the TV soap, has become something of a poster boy for this new age of unusual parenting.
The 40-year-old and his partner Cameron Laux, 49, share daughter Georgia, four, and son Hal, two, with their friend Catherine Kanter, who is also the children’s mother.
The trio have had such success with their own co-parenting experience that they are now spearheading Alternative Parenting Week in an effort to convince other gay couples that they also have a chance of starting a family.
Speaking on This Morning, Charlie said: ‘I think it’s important that people recognise there are families like ours out there
‘When I was growing up, there were no role models, there was nobody doing what I’d done and it was one of the big things when I came out, that I worried that I wouldn’t be a parent.
‘I really wanted to be, but I didn’t know how to go about it.
‘So it’s really important to talk about this as much as I can, so that other gay people realise that it is a possibility and that it isn’t something that has to be closed to them.’
Catherine and Charlie first started to discuss the possibility of children more than a decade ago, but the friends took their time with the decision in order to make sure they weren’t making a mistake.
Within this time, Charlie met Cameron and the idea of two parents then became three.
Charlie said: ‘It was an arrangement that we came up with a few years ago.
‘She really wanted to be a mum, we really wanted to be dads, so we had a serious conversation about it and decided to go down the route of co-parenting.’
The three adults took the decision making very seriously, with several years spent discussing the pros and cons of having a family together, as well as what their personal styles of parenting would be.
Charlie said: ‘We talked about it for a very long time, like a decade.
‘We had all of the conversations to start with about school, etc we wanted to make sure we were on the same page.
‘Morally, politically we wanted to make sure that nothing was going to come up that was a big issue.’
While Catherine lives apart from Cameron and Charlie, the three adults share all parenting, with the children living in both homes equally.
Although Catherine did move in with the men for a period after the birth, she has now moved back into her own home and the three parents relish the freedom co-parenting gives them.
Catherine said: ‘With both children we lived together for a while at the beginning.
‘It was great, I couldn’t have done it without them – especially when it was a newborn and a two year old.
‘But we aren’t designed to live together- it works because we don’t live together.
‘It can be tough sometimes, it’s freedom as well though – I can go out and not get a babysitter, go see friends, got to the theatre.
‘There are of course moments when you think you would like that other person, we do help each other out though, if the others have commitments.
‘I’m very proud of what we’ve done, because for me being single and hitting 40, there was no opportunity for me to do it on my on without being a single mum.’
Charlie is an ambassador for the Alternative Parenting Show, taking place this weekend in London.
To see the full interview head to www.ITV.com/ThisMorning.